Maranao youth wows UN peace building meeting

A Maranao young lady was applauded by various United Nations representatives after she spoke at a recent high-level meeting on peacebuilding in New York City, USA.

Farah Ali Ghodsinia of Marawi City earned a warm applause from the crowd after she introduced the indigenous handwoven piece “malong” as a symbol of inclusivity to peacebuilding.

Ghodsinia said the handwoven fabric represents how crucial meaningful participation of women is in conflict-prevention and peacebuilding.

“When an opportunity was given by the President of the United Nations General Assembly to speak during their meetings in N.Y., I introduced to them our MALONG–an indigenous and beautiful piece from our country. After this speech was given, we were surprised when they suddenly gave an applause. One of officials there said that this was very uncommon because these U.N. meetings tend to be “serious” and time-limited wherein government representatives and stakeholders just speak–one after the other–leaving no time for a random “applause” or “clapping”. Thus, Alhamdullilah. It’s like a sign that those in the room–coming from different nations and institutions–were able to “connect” and also “feel” the message that was just shared with them of us youth in the Philippines, and also of friends and youth from other countries who also have shared feelings,” Ghodsinia said in her Facebook post.

“This malong is actually handwoven by the women of my community in Lanao. Like the presence of you and women today, I believe that we actually recognize the importance of integrating more women in the decision-making processes of peacebuilding,” Ghodsinia said.

“Aside from that, we also recognize that conflict tends to create a greater adverse result or adverse effects on girls and women. Thus, we should also actively shape policies that are gender sensitive,” Ghodsinia said.

Ghodsinia said including more women in general in the decision-making process provides a vital representation of their communities.

Ghodsinia recounted how the devastated Marawi was wrought by armed conflict, which she described as “one of the worst devastations that happened in my country.”

She noted that the government has been vigorously pushing for the rebuilding of the war-torn city and regional development.

“Recently, a war actually happened in my region and our city today Marawi is completely in ruins… And now our government is actually working hard to rebuild our city and to also forward other causes such as the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” Ghodsinia said.

Ghodsinia, the tenth president of the National Youth Parliament, also called for the greater empowerment of youth, citing the United Nations (UN) youth envoy’s message that the youth is the “missing piece” in tackling global challenges.

“I believe it is important for us to support young change makers not only in providing organizational support but also financial support so the future of today depends on what we actually do now,” Ghodsinia said.

“I believe that investing in our youth and seeing them partners of peace and security would be of benefit to all of us, to the old ones, young ones and to the future to come,” Ghodsinia said.

Ghodsinia said the malong, with all its interwoven threads and colors, represents how people can stand united in peace and security amidst diversity.

“By integrating, and weaving together different stakeholders and different factors then we can better attain and sustain peace,” she said.

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