Highlighting Wars to Promote Peace: Forgotten Diaries Explores

"War in the east, war in the west
War up north, war down south
War, war, rumours of war"

It is a little known fact that dozens of wars are currently being waged around the world. Outside of the Middle East, most of these conflicts are shunned by, and receive almost no attention from the media. An even less known fact is that of the vastly untapped potential of young people in these zones and the significant role they can play in peace building.

"That until there are no longer first class
And second class citizens of any nation
Until the colour of a man's skin
Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes
Me say war"

These two little known facts form the heart of the motivation driving the team of seven hard working young people behind ‘Forgotten Diaries’. Forgotten Diaries (FD) is a project which aims to raise awareness of the dire situation facing over 100 million children and youth living in conflict ridden environments. Their unique and innovative approach involves the use of a dedicated web platform which connects the young bloggers from each of 10 ‘forgotten’ conflict zones around the world, allowing them to share their stories and present a human face to each crisis.

Conflict Zones include: East Timor, Ethiopia, Somali and Somaliland, India and Pakistan, Nigeria and Niger Delta, Serbia and Kosovo, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Turdistan & Uganda

"That until the basic human rights are equally
Guaranteed to all, without regard to race
Dis a war"

However, even more innovative and exciting has been their ability to empower young people to take an active role in community and peace building, highlighting the enormous potential young people play in shaping the otherwise dire futures of many of these areas. Following online training on project development and online media, Forgotten Diaries has issued grants to 13 young social entrepreneurs in conflict and post conflict zones to start community peace building and development projects. The projects ranged from youth-led dramas educating children about peace in Nepal led by Shree Thapa to programs targeted at helping disabled youth integrate into society in Rwanda led by Emmanuel Niyamugabo. Several projects also focused on building a culture of peace and non-violence, a vital aspect in countries where youth have grown up only knowing violence.

" FD's Teenage Peace Brigade Project, Ethiopia"

 "Until the philosophy which hold one race
Superior and another inferior
Is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned
Everywhere is war, me say war"
- Bob Marley, War

FD Sponsors Theatre Group in Nepal to Educate Children about Peace

Conflict resolution is complex, challenging, and costly, and even the world’s top diplomats and politicians struggle endlessly in pursuit of peace. However, many of the world’s conflicts share some key elements including a lack of tolerance, understanding, empathy and humanity by many of their perpetrators. Forgotten Diaries has aimed to tackle these fundamental characteristics by attempting to engrain such values in tomorrow’s generations.

FD was started in 2008 and is run by a dedicated team of young volunteers from around the world. FD has already received tens of thousands of visits and won praise from organizations including the Pulitzer Centre, Oxfam and Microsoft. Forgotten Diaries is a project of Youth Action for Change (YAC).

 Cultural Voice supports the efforts of FD and will be featuring articles from bloggers on the FD site as a part of our own efforts to increase intercultural dialogue and promote awareness of cultural conflicts around the world in an effort to contribute to finding creative solutions. For more information please visit FD's website www.forgottendiaries.org.

Info on FD contributed, song lyrics: Bob Marley's 'War'


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