‘How can we find opportunities in conflict?’

Evelyn is a 29 year old legal practitioner from Nigeria currently on track to receive a Masters degree from the International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands. Her personal and professional background motivated her to participate in the virtual exchange ‘Youth Peace and Security’ (2020) offered through the Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange initiative.

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“I took special interest in human rights, gender and conflict and therefore volunteered as a pro bono legal officer with the National Human Rights Commission in Nigeria. Being born in a conflict era in the 1990’s and having experienced the impact of violent conflict, I developed an interest in understanding conflict and how such situations can be transformed to build sustainable peace. “ 

Her personal and professional background motivated her to participate in the virtual exchange ‘Youth Peace and Security’ (2020) offered through the Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange initiative. Meeting weekly online in highly diverse groups guided by trained facilitators, Evelyn and her fellow group members explored core concepts of conflict and peace in a way that privileged participants’ lived experiences as expertise. 

“This experience broadened my thinking on peace building and conflict transformation processes. I learnt a lot sharing ideas with peers and having the opportunity to interact with people across the world. 

It gave me the platform to create new connections and relationships. To have young minds across the globe see the need to do something about the conflict situations around us. Indeed there is hope knowing that together we can take steps to make our world better and shine the light for others. I learnt a lot from my group mates, our diversity and the way things are handled in our different countries.”

Evelyn explains how she looked forward to the weekly meetings to connect and discuss. Especially the conversations about youth activation and opportunities for conflict transformation made an impact:

“I had many best moments but the one that stood out most was the discussion on the role of youth in peace building. It was interesting to note that this is our future, it’s about us, which makes it vital for us to take active steps. And I received new insight from the discussion on the ‘how can we find opportunities in Conflict?’ from my group mates. Where I had always seen the negative outcome of conflict, I came to realize that conflict offers us the opportunity to choose the kind of outcome with the way we decide to address it. 

(…) We must not forget our humanity and if we see each other in this light, then we learn to treat each other better and find common grounds to resolve issues amicably.  We must start with ourselves to take responsibility and be accountable with our actions towards each other.”

Thank you, Evelyn Anietie James, for sharing your story.

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