In the summer of 2022, the fifth edition of the annual OSCE-UNODA Scholarship for Peace and Security took place. This year, three members of the Youth Fusion team were selected to participate in this prestigious program, joining the total of 150 participants from the OSCE and partner States, who were selected from a pool of 1,300 applicants from around the world. 

This eight-week training program on Conflict Prevention and Resolution through Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation in the OSCE Area provided general knowledge about conflict prevention and resolution through arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, as well as the links these fields have with gender, sustainability and youth. “It contributes to creating equal opportunities for young professionals by strengthening young women’s participation in policy making, planning and implementation processes,” the official program description explains.

“I am so honoured and grateful to have been chosen for, and to have successfully passed, the 2022 OSCE-UNODA Scholarship for Peace, and Security. Nuclear disarmament, as well as Gender, Peace and Security, are the main fields that I have been dedicating my academic focus, activism, and career to for the past three years. This training program has filled up so many of my knowledge gaps, and has equipped me with the tools necessary to move forward on my path, with confidence.

Education is so important, and in many universities and education systems the world over, disarmament education is severely lacking. That is why this course is so necessary, because how will we achieve disarmament if we aren’t taught how? Thank you to everyone at the OSCE and the UNODA for organising this- what a powerful tool we have all been equipped with. Let’s not leave it here. Let’s build the peaceful, sustainable future we want, together!– Michaela Higgins Sørensen

“I found out about this scholarship from Marzhan at Youth Fusion a couple of years ago. Back then I was not considering it since I hadn’t started my career/activism in the nuclear disarmament field. But now, after a year of work in this field and empowerment from awesome women at Youth Fusion, I decided to apply. I never regretted this decision because this has been an absolutely amazing experience that equipped me with knowledge which was much needed, especially at times like this when we live in the time of an ongoing war in the OSCE region.

This programme not only showed why women, peace and security agenda is vitally important in addition to intersectional approach but it also connected young people from different countries who share the same values and want to achieve peace and disarmament. And with people like this who participated in this programme, I am more than sure that a better future will be built for our and next generations.” – Aigerim Seitenova 

“I couldn’t agree more. During the very last session, we were asked to summarize this course and experience in one word. Hope, inspiration, or determination were some that repeated, and they have truly resonated with me.

As a sustainable security advocate, too often, I am participating in meetings or events where I am (by far) the youngest – and often the only female – participant. At Youth Fusion, we are trying to change that and bring as many young experts to the table as possible.

Needless to say then, being able to be a part of this innovative training focusing on the issues that I have been exploring for years, moreover created for young people with a special focus on gender and youth perspectives, was a true energy “booster shot.” I remain honored and humbled to be able to be a part of this special experience.

Finally, I would like to say that for us 2022 Scholars, receiving our certificates felt like only the beginning! I am certain the friendships made and skills learned have only just started sparkling new ideas, projects, and open doors to make this world a more cheerful, peaceful, and sustainable one.” – Vanda Prošková

Throughout the summer, Vanda, Michaela, and Aigerim participated in weekly training and live seminar sessions. Finally, at the end of July, they successfully completed the final exam, and received their certificates

“We are extremely honored to have participated in this training program, as youths advocating for nuclear disarmament. It is important to keep up to date with developments in your field, and to be equipped with as much knowledge, and as many tools, as possible.

Not only are we proud of our academic growth, we are also elated to have met so many inspiring, driven, and dynamic women, who were working alongside us, throughout the program.

We will keep the lessons learned and connections made with us for many years to come, and will continue to promote and support this scholarship,” the Youth Fusion leaders say.

Interested in learning more about the programming? Watch the video below

To learn more about the program and any future opportunities, visit the OSCE website.

Vanda, Michaela, and Aigerim joined Nico and Marzhan who participated in the Scholarship in previous years. To read about Nico’s experience, click here.

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