Amazing the Space – Northern Ireland’s largest youth-led peacebuilding event launched
Today (24 June) at Ebrington Square, Derry-Londonderry, one of the biggest youth-led peacebuilding events to be held in Northern Ireland was launched.
Amazing the Space, which will be held on 21 September 2016 the UN International Day of Peace, will see up to 5,000 young people come together at the Eikon Exhibition Centre, Maze/Long Kesh and at a number of satellite venues across Northern Ireland.
Peace pledges written by pupils from primary and second level schools, which tell of their hope for peace will be unveiled at the event, alongside performances of music, drama and visual arts from local talent. There will also be international contributions, arranged through a range of international partners including Generation Global, The Global Peace Foundation and The United Nations. The event will also be streamed around the world.
Speaking at the launch, Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness said:“Everyone in our society has their role to play in building a truly united community. Our children and young people regularly lead the way in these efforts and any campaign which gets more young people involved has my full support.
“Our young people have their own perspectives and priorities which can be often very different to adults so we must make sure they have the opportunity to get involved and shape not only their future, but a shared society where everyone is respected and valued.
“I commend Co-operation Ireland who have a track record in making a real difference to the lives of young people and the local community. I have no doubt the people who participate in this initiative will benefit greatly from the experience.
“The event on 21 September at the Eikon Exhibition Centre will bring together over three thousand of our young people and sends out a strong statement of the importance of International Peace Day.”
Junior Minister, Alastair Ross said: “Amazing the Space is a truly unique initiative which provides young people throughout Northern Ireland with the opportunity to play their part in peace-building.
“All our young people regardless of age, religion or ethnic background have a contribution to make to ensure we live in a peaceful society, so it is only right we listen.
“The event on 21 September will be totally unique. It will enable 3,500 pupils to come together under one roof, with an additional 2,000 throughout Northern Ireland linked by video, tocelebrate their role in peace-building and ambassadors for peace.
“Events and initiatives such as these are vital to a shared society so I am delighted that the Northern Ireland Executive is supporting this initiative through the Central Good Relations Fund.
“It is great to meet some of the young people involved in the initiative and hear about some of the work they will be undertaking to build peace. I wish them well for the future and thank Co-operation Ireland for their work in delivering this valuable initiative.”
Dr David Latimier,from First Derry Presbyterian Church who had the original idea for the event said:
“Young people, with open minds, fresh ideas and positive energy are the key to a brighter future in Northern Ireland. The young have the power to forge a path of good hope that shimmers with peace and prosperity. This central idea is the catalytic touchstone of the AMAZING THE SPACE Initiative”.
Terry O’Neill, Co-operation Ireland said:
“Co-operation Ireland is delighted to be part of this unique event, which young people have led from the front, from developing the logo to helping organise the event.
“I continue to be amazed by our young people’s ability and commitment to creating meaningful peace pledges and this event is a fitting opportunity for them to share their pledges with their peers across Northern Ireland and across the world. It is hugely encouraging that our young people want to relay their hopes for peace with other young people living in conflict areas”.
He continued, “I appeal to all schools in Northern Ireland to complete and return the expression of interest form to firstname.lastname@example.org before the end of the school term so that Co-operation Ireland can work through the summer months to have everything in place for schools to attend this amazing youth-led event when they school returns in September”.