Young people with their diverse talents can be powerful agents for change.
This is the view of Derry minister, Dr. David Latimer, the man behind the city’s Pathway to Peace initiative.
The project - which was officially unveiled in December - incorporates “Peace Pledges” composed by schools and colleges from right across the North West.
The Pathway initiative emerged after the unveiling of Ireland’s first peace flame - located adjacent to Derry’s Guildhall - by Martin Luther King III in May of last year.
The project brought together 60 schools and colleges from across the Derry City Council area and a further ten schools in Co. Donegal.
Speaking during a recent visit to Good Shepherd PS in Derry - one of the participating schools - Rev. Latimer said schoolchildren were the “architects” of the unique peace-building project.
The First Derry Presbyterian minister was accompanied on the school visit by Paddy Mackey, senior education officer with the Western Education Board (WELB).
“Young people need to play a key role in shaping the future of their community and country and, yet, they are often excluded from the decision making process,” said Dr. Latimer.
“Both David in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament draw attention to the importance of young people within society when they declare, ‘from the mouths of children and infants you have laid a sure foundation.’
“Young people with their diverse talents can be powerful agents for change. Pathway to Peace is designed to empower a rising generation who can, by their words and wisdom, guide us away from the midnight of desperation and onwards towards the dawn of a better inclusive future.”
Derry’s Mayor Martin Reilly has described the Pathway project as “a new resource to assist us with promoting peace.”
It shows, he says, the important and influential role our young people play in allowing us to enjoy and benefit from a peaceful future.
“The Pathway to Peace will help us to build on the great work being carried out across the city to help build a solid and lasting legacy for future generations,” he added.
WELB Chief Executive Barry Mulholland says the project provides “an invaluable glimpse into the meaning of peace for our young people” and he praised Rev. Latimer for his vision.