Looking back at the Youth Carnegie Peace Prize 2023

In December 2023, highly motivated young peacebuilders from all over the world competed for the 2023 Youth Carnegie Peace Prize. In the video contest facilitated by Youth Peace Initiative and the Carnegie Foundation – Peace Palace, participants aged between 18 and 29 years old showcased their peacebuilding work, competing for the title of “Youth Ambassador of the Peace Palace”. Two years after the successful ceremony of 2021, it was high time we announced the next winners of the Youth Carnegie Piece Prize, in an honorary ceremony at the Great hall of Justice of The Peace Palace, in The Hague.

Since its initiation, the Youth Carnegie Peace Prize highlights and promotes to the work of young peacebuilders in (post-) conflict areas, and provides a platform to inspire and encourage new initiatives. On December 7th 2023, an audience of distinguished guests and young peacebuilders witnessed how World’s Youth for Climate Justice were awarded the prize by Elisabeth Welling-van Gent, board member of the Carnegie Foundation. The ceremony brought together over 120 attendees who had the chance to hear the speeches of Piet Hein Donner, President of the Carnegie Foundation, Zaire Krieger, spoken word artist, and Jan van Zanen, Mayor of The Hague, but also to have a look at the videos of the top 10 participants.

Even though choosing the winner was not easy for the jury, they announced World’s Youth for Climate Justice to become the Youth Ambassador of the Peace Palace for the next two years. World’s Youth for Climate Justice is an international youth campaign dedicated to advocating climate justice and combating climate change through international law. This youth movement is known worldwide for advancing the need for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding states’ obligations in respect of climate change. During the ceremony, Quint van Velthoven and Marijn Vodegel, representatives of the movement, accepted the award on behalf of World’s Youth for Climate Justice. In their speech, they highlighted the correlation between climate change and peace:

“The link between climate change and peace might not be the first one that comes to mind. However, it is a strong one. Consequences of climate change include an increase in extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, heat waves, more frequent floods, wildfires and drought, that can lead to food insecurity, destruction of land and livelihood, and increased displacement – factors that foster conflict.”

They ended their speech by underlining the urgency of global climate action in today’s times, and the need for inclusion of youth in the decision making processes.

On the same note, the Mayor of The Hague in his concluding remarks underscored the importance of youth’s inclusion in decision making “…especially on a topic directly related to the future of today’s young people and generations to come. Young people should be at the table – locally, nationally and internationally.”

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