An ongoing call for applications offers young peacebuilders a free short course on the intersection of youth, peacebuilding, and sustainability. The short course is designed by the Seeds for Mindanao Advocacy and Youth Leadership (SMAYL), with support from the U.S. Mission to ASEAN and Cultural Vista. SMAYL is one of the recipients of the 2021 Seeds for the Future Award, competing with over 600 applicants from across Southeast Asia. The Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative (YSEALI) Seeds for the Future Small Grants Competition funds up to $15,000 of each grantee project.  

SMAYL is the brainchild of MSU-IIT’s Political Science faculty, Dr. Primitivo Cabanes Ragandang III, along with Dr. Mary Koren Witting Acuesa and Mr. Charl Mark Ane. The three all hail from Northern Mindanao and have been into youth peacebuilding for many years. For 2021, they will implement a project that aims to empower young peacebuilders through a youth leadership program. The project also aims at providing a venue to understand the Mindanao conflict, the second-oldest conflict in the planet albeit not well-understood even among Filipinos.  

The short course is built around the global recognition of youth’s integral role in peacebuilding, as manifested in the passage of United Nation’s Resolution 2250 (in 2015) and 2535 (in 2020). But while young peacebuilders have captured the spotlight among peacebuilding practitioners, funders, and scholars internationally, there is prevalent unsustainability among youth peacebuilding initiatives, thus the need to develop a locally grown support system for young peacebuilders. Such a ‘local turn’ in peacebuilding empowers the locals and is also linked to peacebuilding sustainability.  

This 54-hour short course is coupled with an online learning hub. It generally aims to provide regular support, feedbacking, and eventually establish a network of young peacebuilders in the region. The program offers young peacebuilding a hybridized short course geared towards developing an action agenda on the intersection of youth, peace, and sustainability.  

The short course is a hybrid of self-paced and live teleconferencing sessions. Self-paced sessions allow the participants to access and comply with the course content at any time within the three-day module schedule. Live teleconferencing via Zoom enable the participants to engage with the speaker and course mates in a real-time interactive session. 

Deadline for applications is 31 May 2021. For more information about SMAYL and the short course application, visit them on Facebook and the link for application.

 — contributed article