On 24 June 2016, Amazing the Space was officially launched by deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA and Jnr Minister Alastair Ross MLA. Read about it here.
Amazing the Space is a youth-led peacebuilding initiative that empowers young people across Northern Ireland, to become ambassadors for peace within their communities. The project enables young people to contribute to a more peaceful society, acknowledging that they can be key agents of change in our society. To mark International Peace Day, on 21st September 2016, over 5,000 young people from hundreds of schools came together at the Eikon Exhibition Centre, Maze Long-Kesh site, and a number of satellite venues across N. Ireland to celebrate diversity and a more peaceful future.
In preparing for the Amazing the Space event, young people from schools across Ireland had the opportunity to work together and design their own peace pledges, aimed at building good relations among a range of different communities. In total 409 peace pledges were received as part of initiative and from these peace pledges a large stainless steel peace pledge tree was created, celebrating the voice of young people in peace building.
In addition to the peace pledges, young people worked together to prepare artwork, film, dance and music for both satellite events and the main event at the Eikon centre. In doing so, they helped develop relationships, celebrate diversity, promote respect and deepen their understanding of other cultures from across the globe. This shared approach to the event increased young people’s exposure to working in a multicultural environment as well as increasing their exposure to the concept of shared space within their local communities.
To ensure the greatest number of young participants, satellite venues were set up regionally, including: St Paul’s High School Bessbrook; Slemish College Ballymena; St Mary’s College Derry, St Mary’s Grammar School Magherafelt and Erne Integrated College Enniskillen. In each satellite event, schools came together to plan and implement their own local, youth led event marking International Peace Day and celebrating young people’s role in peacebuilding, which coincided with the large-scale event taking place at the Eikon Exhibition Centre. Additionally, each satellite venue was also able to connect to the main event at the Eikon Exhibition centre via live streaming.
Through the involvement of numerous large scale international organisations such as Generation Global , the Global Peace Foundation and the United Nations, the Amazing the Space event also included contributions from young people across the globe with over 40 global communities sharing the voices and hopes of young people for peace from all over the world, including India, Mongolia, Brazil, Ukraine, Kenya and South Korea.
On the day of the event, young people in each satellite event were also able to connect with global partners in areas of conflict including Egypt, Palestine, Pakistan, India, the USA and Ukraine to share their visions of peace and engage in meaningful dialogue.
The Amazing the Space event is open to all young people from across Ireland, regardless of religious, ethnic and social background. By creating a shared space where ALL young people can come together to celebrate diversity and understanding, young people can become empowered and feel inspired to work towards a more peaceful society for them and their peers.