S!NERGY x Albania

On December 12, the International Association of Youth and Students for Peace (IAYSP) Europe and the Middle East organized the first annual S!NERGY youth speech program under the theme, The role of young people in resolving conflicts and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.The program took place online on Zoom, which came with some technical challenges but vastly widened outreach potential for the event; enabling an international live audience of nearly two hundred from around Europe and the Middle East.

This year’s S!NERGY saw five young finalists from different countries, each presenting the project they are undertaking to create a more peaceful world around them that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The projects covered peace and women’s rights in the Middle East, Art Healing for refugees of war, decreasing food waste, cultural interaction, and rural service projects in a developing country, and promoting the SDGs among European youth. All projects were conveyed with youthful passion, reminding the audience that changing the world for the better is in the hands of every single one of us.

The judges of S!NERGY were: Mrs. Jeong-hye Yeom, Secretary-General of IAYSP Europe and the Middle East; and three distinguished recipients of the Youth Hero Award, which recognizes exemplification of service to others and the world: Mr. Jan Gregor (Czech Republic), Vice-President for Alliance for Family; Dr. Jason Sparks (Hungary), Youth Delegate of Hungary to the United Nations; and Mr. Dadastone Ipoma (France), Founder and Chairman of IPOMA Association.

The first place in this S!NERGY was given to Mr. Zabihullah Roshan (Afghanistan), for his inspiring Sustainable Peace Advocates Network initiative, which promotes peace and women’s rights in his country, by promoting peace marches and bike rides for peace. Second place went to the youngest finalist, Ms. Tatiana Nekhodtseva from Russia. She initiated the GoodFood project to increase the effectiveness of left-over food utilization from restaurants and supermarkets by connecting these facilities more tightly with local organizations providing food aid. Both winners received a cash prize to advance their project further.