Fostering communications and negotiations among youth in Ukraine, Russia and the West

By Olga Stoliarchuk, April 27, 2015

Youth constitute the largest part of the population in many regions, thus the role of youth in recent globalization and cross-border processes is now more crucial than ever. Youth all over the world are not only contributing to the world everyday, but they are also playing an invaluable role in building bridges across communities, working together and helping to manage global and local conflicts, as well as promoting peace.

For a more effective future, it is urgent and important to engage and empower more young people for understanding the world around them and their role in it. It is possible to perform this role upon giving them knowledge and skills, providing useful and effective tools, creating social spaces and support, so youth may connect and join different communities without any barriers.

Realistically, young people are vital players in both conflicts and peacebuilding processes, and they have the potential to act as community leaders. Leadership in all areas, from peacebuilding and settlement to post-conflict settlement. As a youth representative myself, I see that there is a new generation of peace-builders and such youth are raising their voices.

Youth in Ukraine and Russia are not in a state of exclusion. To the contrary, there are future leaders among us who are shaping the world for a better future. Recently we, young people and leaders in general face a conflict which is preventing us from making progress and causes us to get tangled into misunderstandings. Different visions, different values and a lack of desire to understand each other makes the situation worse. Communication education as well as conflict resolution education is a major necessity for establishing a dialogue between youth in Ukraine and Russia in the current situation. For establishing a dialogue and implementing alternatives to violence, Ukrainian and Russian youth should understand that they are responsible for their behaviour and responsible for the need to promote nonviolence as a conflict resolution strategy in the Ukraine-Russian conflict. Active and capable skills to listen, speak, and exchange facts and feelings effectively is a useful life skill for a settlement. Youth should learn nonaggressive and philanthropic ways of communication for creating a background for a future dialogue. Such dialogue is possible in different ways and the most important is to have the desire to solve the conflict and dispute.

The Internet has become the most effective communication tool for young people in their communicative practices and is an amazing way to engage youth in social, political and cultural life. The Internet is an amazing example of a platform or a space, where disputing parties from Ukraine and Russia may come together to share their feelings, views and emotions, as well as cooperate in deeper concern for developing possible mutually satisfactory solutions and strategies with or without the help of a neutral party.