Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
Kindly permit me to adopt the protocol that has already been established. I am honoured to stand before you this evening to offer some thoughts about youth and peace. After all, when we address the youth…we are in fact addressing our leaders in training who will have the precious task of leading our communities and nations tomorrow.
Peace is precious. It must be nurtured, maintained and defended. Peace does not exist by accident or by chance, but instead, results from an enlightened choice made on an individual level…a family level…a community level and a global level. We must remain united in our hunger to achieve peace – this treasure, must be sought out, cherished and protected.
The words tolerance, justice, human rights and harmony are not flowery concepts to be discussed only in fancy conferences at certain times a year – but instead, we need to engage in peace conversations at home, at school and on the neighbourhood block if we are to achieve real change that will touch lives. Peace is not simply the absence of war! Peace affects the very basis of a human being’s existence, a person’s freedom to exist from fear and to pursue a respectable quality of life, free to dream and strive to achieve their full potential and happiness. We need to work towards peace in every home, school and neighbourhood in Anguilla.
I will share today 2 ideas that we as a community can pro-actively engage in, to play our part in pursuing peace within our hearts, our families, our nation and by extension our world.
Let Youths Have A Voice on Life’s Issues and Decision-Making
Albert Einstein once said, that we cannot solve a problem with the same mindset in which we created the problem. Therefore we need to harness fresh insight and in doing so, we cannot forget the input of our youth. Experienced wisdom can only be strengthened by adding innovative, youthful perspectives.
We must not wait, for our young people to grow up, before allowing them a voice and lending them an ear, as they share their fears, frustrations, aspirations, challenges and ideas. We as a community, need to engage our youth in real discussions and allow them to participate in problem-solving, decision-making and brainstorming to solve the violence and other challenges in our land. Youth are capable of contributing fresh, pure, creative mindsets and are full of passion and enthusiasm on many life issues. Check young people on the park when Stoney Ground comes up against The Valley at football!! Pandamonium in de place!
Let us engage and channel this energy, into productive output through debates, music, the arts, sports and various community support programs such as youth groups, youth councils and youth centers.
The powers that be, need to invest in infrastructure and innovative new ideas for sports and education and other important vehicles that can powerfully shape the lives of our youths. If youths feel like part of the decisions that affect them in their community, they will buy in to the solutions and support the cause and be more at peace within the community.
Parents, although we may be at the teenage stage, seeking more independence and challenging your views, do not abandon us. Many times when a child reaches Campus B at the age of twelve, parents would say “he out of the way”. No! I beg to differ. It is actually at this stage that we desperately need support and guidance as we face lots of decisions, conflicting emotions and divergent pathways. Parents, we need you more when we are 13, than we needed you when we were 5. Stay close to us and be there for us.
Youths Step Up!
As young people we need to Step Up on our game! If we want our voices heard by the older, wiser heads, we also need to be able to reflect on life and articulate our thoughts and ideas to the leaders of the land. We have to show ourselves responsible and worthy of being heard. Just like we can rally together, for Sports Day and Jeans Day Jam, we need to also band together, to help our peers to make good and sometimes difficult choices, during our challenging teen years.
We need to set personal goals in various areas of our life, to give ourselves a sense of purpose, so we can enjoy a sense of achievement. We know what they say about idle hands! Yes they make mischief. Whatever your talent or whatever your gift, tune into it and work hard to achieve your aspirations. This way you will find peace within yourself and therefore can maintain harmonious relationships with your family members, friends, peers and the wider community. Be open to the love and support of your family, teachers, coaches and mentors. We may sometimes not agree with their point of view, but their efforts are always grounded in love and life wisdom.
We all need to play a part in promoting peace which is a pre-requisite for nation building. Our island is young and full of potential and we all need to work hand in hand to achieve a peaceful Anguilla…the landscape for our present and future generations.
Peace out. I thank you.
Thirteen year old Kyiv Edwards is passionate about life. He lives life to its very fullest always…whether by participating in a controversial class discussion, organizing a social activity among his peers or pursuing one of his many hobbies. Kyiv has an engaging and outgoing personality and enjoys social interactions with all age groups. He is a creative, out of the box thinker…always planning some new venture or project and if in doubt, researching Youtube to get ideas as to how to accomplish his goal.
Since primary school Kyiv has had a keen interest in Gourmet Cuisine and has pursued several Culinary courses and has work attachments in six of Anguilla’s top restaurants over the past few years. He enjoys concocting exotic creations to tempt the palette.
Kyiv loves navigating the computer and thanks to special permission by the Board of Governors of the Anguilla Community College, is now pursuing an Advanced Graphics Course at the college, having successfully completed the foundation graphics course last year with an A+ average. Kyiv has launched a Graphics Design services website and is available for jobs in this area.
He is active in several extra-curricular at the ALHCS including Steel Pan Orchestra, Concert Band, Environmental Club, History Club and Debating Club. He loves creating his own music and currently can play the drums, piano, steelpan, recorder and saxophone. He has started experimenting with the harmonica and the base guitar, all enroute to his personal goal of learning how to play a total of 10 instruments during his teen years. Kyiv who attained a Black Belt in Tae Qwondo at the age of 10, has enjoyed playing a variety of sports including tennis, golf, table tennis, swimming, football, cricket, basketball, billiards and sailing.
Kyiv enjoys healthy competition and practical interactive learning opportunities. He is the ultimate salesman…achieving great success in selling items like school journals and hand bands and also has been seen to exert valiant attempts to sell real estate. His career goal is to become a successful computer software designer, marketing his software solutions on the worldwide stage. Kyiv has a natural flair for leadership and operates with the mindset that anything is possible.