Humphrey Fellow alum Ben Said appointed to UN Advisory Group focused on youth issues

Secretary-General Nominates Lead Author and Advisory Group for Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security (reprinted from  

12 August 2016 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon today appointed Graeme Simpson (South Africa) as lead author for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security, as well as 21 experts who will form an advisory group and work in close collaboration with him.

The Secretary-General will make the official announcement in a speech at Calgary University tonight on the occasion of International Youth Day.

In December of 2015, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2250 (2015) on Youth, Peace and Security. Resolution 2250 (2015) is the first resolution to recognize the important and positive role young women and men play in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security.

The resolution requests the Secretary-General “to carry out a progress study on the youth’s positive contribution to peace processes and conflict resolution, in order to recommend effective responses at local, national, regional and international levels.”

Mr. Simpson, is the Director of Interpeace USA and has worked as a global specialist on peacebuilding, conflict and violence with national and international civil society organizations, governments and multilateral agencies for more than 25 years.

The Advisory Group composed of 21 experts – scholars, practitioners and youth leaders – was also appointed by the Secretary-General. The members are: Farea Al-Muslimi (Yemen), Luz Alcira Granada Contreras (Colombia), Scott Attran (USA), Chernor Bah (Sierra Leone), Ikram Ben Said (Tunisia), Malual Bol Kiir (South Sudan), Kessy Martine Ekomo-Soignet (CAR), Ilwad Elman (Somalia), Matilda Flemming (Finland), Terri-Ann Gilbert-Roberts (Jamaica), Saba Ismail (Pakistan), Thevuni Kavindi Kotigala (Sri Lanka), Nur Laiq (UK), Mieke Lopes Cardozo (Netherlands), Robert Muggah (Canada), Hussein Nabil Murtaja (Palestine), Funmi Olonisakin (Nigeria), Salim Salamah (Syria), Ali Saleem (Pakistan), Hajer Sharief (Libya), and Marc Sommers (USA).

“The composition of the Advisory Group of Experts reflects the aspiration of the progress study to enhance young people’s participation as political actors in the field of peace and security,” said Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General, UN Peacebuilding Support Office, whose office is the co-chair of the Inter-agency Working Group on Youth and Peacebuilding. “We are pleased to have such a diverse Advisory Group, including many young people from around the world, and feel this marks a vital shift towards the United Nations working in even more inclusive ways.”

The Advisory Group is unique in its significant representation of young people and women; nine members are young practitioners and twelve are women.

“The Advisory Group brings together distinguished individuals with a wide range of experience to help inform the Progress Study and strengthen the design of more innovative policy solutions for engaging young people in conflict resolution and peacebuilding,” said Ahmad Alhendawi, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. “The fact that almost half of the members of the group are young people reinforces the UN resolve to work with and for young people.”

Advisory Group members have worked on a wide range of issues, including youth empowerment, enhanced political participation of women and youth, gender equality and peace, violence prevention and youth development.

“The establishment of such a talented and dynamic Advisory Group, and the appointment of someone with the experience and stature of Mr. Simpson gives renewed energy and hope to all of us who are committed to seeing resolution 2250 bring new opportunities for young people and governments alike,” said Shamil Idriss, President & CEO of Search for Common Ground.
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