Filipina peace advocate speaks in UN forum, calls on youth to fight violent extremism

NEW YORK CITY, United States — A young Filipina peace campaigner has again represented the Philippines in an international youth congress in the city.

Arizza Nocum, 22, of Kristiyano-Islam Peace (Kris) Library in Quezon City, is among the 400 individuals that included world leaders, United Nations (UN) representatives, young leaders, students, philanthropists and entrepreneurs who were invited to participate in the Misk-United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Youth Forum on September 14 at The Plaza Hotel and at the UN Headquarters, New York.

She spoke alongside American businessman and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, former United States (US) Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and Dr. Deepak Chopra, an American author, public speaker, and alternative medicine advocate – on promoting tolerance for peace and sustainable development.

The congress was co-organized by UNDP to encourage youth leaders to act on major global issues such as violent extremism.

Misk is a Saudi-based charity foundation established in 2011 by Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, to help disadvantaged youth.

The one-day event of high-level panel discussions, key notes and collaborative workshops featured more than 20 youth leaders from around the world and a roster of high-profile speakers that also included Achim Steiner, administrator of UNDP; and Mourad Wahba, UN Assistant Secretary-General.

Nocum said she is proud to represent the country and be given another opportunity to encourage young people around the world to be more concerned and responsible on concerns that affect their generation such as peace and violent extremism.

The topic of violent extremism, she stressed, is also timely now that the Philippines’ security and stability are being threatened by the militants occupying the City of Marawi in Lanao del Sur.

Nocum has spoken about violent extremism in several international forums, the latest of which was the Leaders to Leaders 2017 Summer Program held last month in Hong Kong and organized by Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG).

“We want to make young people feel extremely responsible for acts of violent extremism, not because they are the ones doing it, or because their countries maybe experiencing it, but because young people in general – fighters of the Islamic State, rebels all over the world, militants and separatist groups – they’re not actually made up of older generation, they’re made up of young people like us,” she pointed out.

Nocum added the world’s young people have to feel responsible because “I believe our governments, our armies, our states, our policymakers are not doing enough, and they’re not capable of doing what we are capable of doing.”

“I think and I believe that peace starts from the ground up, not from the government or from the leadership down,” she said.

After the Misk-UNDP Youth Forum and Youth Roundtable Working
Group discussions, Nocum also spoke at the World Leadership Alliance Security and Development Meeting at Hotel Westin Grand Central on September 19.

Born to a Catholic father and a Tausug mother, Nocum is the Overall Head of KRIS Library, a non-profit organization that aims to promote peace through education by building libraries, providing scholarships, and distributing educational materials in areas affected by poverty and conflict.

She is also a magna cum laude graduate of University of the Philippines-Diliman College of Engineering.

Thus far, Kris has built six libraries, provided more than 400 scholarships, and spread more than 50,000 books and computers.

The young Nocum is also presently one of the 10 young leaders from all over the world who formed “Extremely Together”, a group of young people handpicked by the Kofi Annan Foundation to counter violent extremism on a global level.

She is also an ambassador for One Young World, the eminent summit for young leaders from 196 countries. Her leadership of KRIS Library has led her to receive numerous awards such as the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines and the Young Women in Public Affairs Award from Zonta International.

She has also been nominated as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World.

In March, she was also named the youth awardee during the 2017 Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs Awards organized by “Go Negosyo,” the advocacy of the non-profit organization Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship. (PR)

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