Children’s agency UNICEF and partners recently held a Peace Concert to commemorate the International Day of Peace. Young people affected by conflict in Mindanao came together to express their hopes and dreams of peace through song and dance in support of National Peace Consciousness Month.
The concert was organized by Kalimudan Arts and Culture Center, Mindanao State University and UNICEF.
During the Peace Concert, young people in Mindanao shared their visions and dreams for peace through traditional art forms. One of the highlights is an original song, Sabay-Sabay Tayo Para Sa Kabataan (All of us Together for Children), composed by young people from Sarangani Province. Through the song, boys and girls expressed their desire that young people come together and work for peace in Mindanao.
UNICEF believes that adolescence is a time of opportunity for children. Young people across the world crave for their voices to be heard. Whilst they are often viewed as a problem for society, young people are also assets who can contribute to positive change and help build peace in their families, communities and the wider world.
“Participation helps adolescents to become the architects of their own lives, developing themselves and their communities and becoming a collective and creative force for a better future. The young people’s performances in the concert showed that they not only have a deep appreciation of the rich cultural traditions of Mindanao, but also bright dreams of a peaceful future and the roles they can play in making this future a reality,” UNICEF Philippines deputy representative Julia Rees says.
Working with partners, UNICEF supports adolescent development and participation across Mindanao, with a focus on their engagement in peace building. Since 2015, UNICEF and its partners have provided nearly 10,000 adolescents in Mindanao–including students and out-of-school youth–access to adolescent-friendly spaces in which they can develop life skills.
This work includes a focus on engaging young people in peace building through the use of arts and culture, which are a powerful medium for young people to explore and express themselves in relation to the peace and conflict issues they face in their daily lives.