Liberia: YMCA Inspires Youth to Champion Peace as Liberia’s Critical Elections Approach
MONROVIA – The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) has concluded a day-long Youth Peace Actors Summit, urging young individuals to become advocates of peace as Liberia prepares for its crucial elections slated for October 10 this year.
With the theme, “Upholding Democracy and Sustaining Peace,” the summit brought together five hundred youth leaders, representatives from political party youth wings, civil society organizations, student leaders, auxiliary groups, and community peacebuilders from twelve counties across Liberia.
Speaking during the event, E. Timotheus Kamaboakai, CEO of YMCA Liberia, emphasized that the responsibility of maintaining peace during these upcoming elections rests on every Liberian citizen.
“Peace is everybody’s business, it is not for one set of people; we all have the responsibility, we cannot sit and say, that is not our responsibility,” Mr. Kamaboakai said.
During the event, the YMCA Liberia head discouraged young people from being manipulated by politicians into engaging in acts of violence.
The summit provided a platform for young individuals to voice their concerns on pertinent matters affecting them. Dignitaries such as Ambassadors Urban Sjostrom and Jakob Heselhuber, representing Sweden and Germany respectively, as well as Christian Mukosa, the Country Representative of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Liberia, were present to lend their support.
Commissioner Barsee Leo Kpangbai, representing the National Elections Commission (NEC), reassured the youth that the NEC is dedicated to conducting a transparent election free from any form of manipulation.
“Nobody should fool you to say the National Elections will cheat, what you give us is what we will give you,” Commissioner Kpangbai said.
He also used the opportunity to underscore that true leadership in Liberia is synonymous with a peaceful environment. This year’s youth summit builds upon a series of civic initiatives, including youth peace camps and recent civic competence and elections preparedness training, facilitated by the YMCA Civil Peace Service, among others.
According to the YMCA, this initiative is part of a broader strategy to empower communities to conduct civic and voter education locally. The effort emphasizes the importance of increased citizen participation in recognizing early warning signs, countering hate speech, preventing election malpractices, and making informed choices while fostering peaceful coexistence.