U.S. Statement on the OSCE Perspectives 20-30 Online Academy 2022 Closing Event
As prepared for delivery by Ambassador Michael Carpenter
September 13, 2022
Let me begin by, first of all, congratulating all of you, the graduates of the 2021 and 2022 Online Academy for being here. Welcome to Vienna. And also thank you for presenting your research later on today. I’m a firm supporter of the OSCE’s online academy and applaud the work you do to provide practical contributions to efforts to advance peace and security. It’s really vital that we hear from voices like yours. The Academy increases the visibility of the OSCE’s work among young people and provides a valuable platform for emerging voices like your own to address key security challenges and concerns of the day. So, I’m looking forward to receiving the recommendations that are included in the two security themed policy papers that we will review later today.
Unfortunately, our meeting is taking place at a time of war. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has displaced millions of people, undermined the foundations of the rules based international order and fundamentally compromised European security. It’s threatened the security and lives of an entire generation of young Ukrainians who were forced to respond to a war that they did not ask for. These young Ukrainians, faced with a myriad of difficult decisions, have chosen to defend and rebuild their country, even as they look in horror at the vast economic, environmental and, of course, human devastation that this war has caused.
Russia’s war of choice also underscores the broader issue of the comprehensive nature of our collective security. To achieve comprehensive and sustainable peace in our region, it’s essential that we work to engage youth as stakeholders, empower them to incorporate their security needs and perspectives into OSCE work and into respective national policies. In many ways, your generation is the most open, tolerant and certainly digitally connected of any that has preceded you. But having said that, there is also much to learn from previous generations, including that of, say, my parents, who have demonstrated an incredible commitment to public service that I think is an example to many of the generations that have succeeded them. So, there’s much to learn in terms of this cross generational dialog in this regard.
The OSCE’s is Academy and the OSCE’s flagship Youth Engagement Project Perspectives 2030 are two good examples of how OSCE institutions and field missions integrate the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda into the OSCE daily work. I welcome the decision by the Polish Chair-in-Office to appoint a special representative on youth and security. This is very important, as several chairs have prior to them, and I look forward to working with the incoming chair — represented here by the Ambassador of North Macedonia — to highlight the youth agenda. In addition to appointing a special representative on youth engagement, I also welcome the decision taken by the OSCE’s Parliamentary Assembly in July to establish a young parliamentarians network. In fact, I have heard from many of the folks who are in that network, including some in Ukraine, who have talked about how much this network has helped them in terms of their ability to communicate across borders.
Finally, in my role as co-chair of the OSCE Group of Friends and Youth and Security, I would note that the U.S. is very proud to promote young women’s engagement in arms control and disarmament. This is very important through the use the OSCE UNODA scholarship for peace and security. The reality, of course, is that women continue to be vastly underrepresented in security discussions, but programs like this one help bring women’s voices into the mix, which is badly, badly needed. We see this time and again in OSCE structures and institutions. We need to, of course, integrate youth. We can’t forget about young women as well.
So, to the graduates and participants in the prospective 2030 activities and the online academy, I want to confirm to you the importance of integrating your voices into the OSCE. Our work offers youth a platform – a meaningful platform — to engage OSCE and the policy makers here in your respective countries, also here in Vienna, and it deepens our understanding of your important contributions to peace and security. Not only as beneficiaries, but, of course, as important stakeholders and partners.