Irene Bronzini is a UN Youth Volunteer fully funded by Belgium, who was assigned in Mali in 2015 with UNESCO’s social sciences department. Irene, who is of Italian origin, supports the department in co-running UNESCO’s youth and peace education programmes.
For two years, Irene has been working to strengthen and consolidate peace within Malian civil society. Her position involves working with Malian communities, particularly their young people, to help young people develop skills as peacemakers and promotors of tolerance, intercultural dialogue and non-violence.
As part of her role as a young volunteer, Irene accompanies the Malian government as they cooperate with various ministries to implement national programs and policies aimed at youth development and peacebuilding.
Peace is not simply the absence of conflict; it combines many areas, from social to cultural, on which we all have to work together
“Working at the heart of UNESCO has enriched my knowledge of peace and culture. It has allowed me to think more profoundly about ways to prevent conflicts. Peace is not simply the absence of conflict; it combines many areas, from social to cultural, on which we all have to work together”. It is this conviction that stokes Irene’s enthusiasm for working tirelessly to promote peace through citizen education.
According to Irene, who is in sub-Saharan Africa for the first time, these two years of service have allowed her to discover another little corner of the world with values and a culture in which she could integrate herself to the point of being able to speak in certain local dialects. “I believe that as a volunteer my personal and professional commitment has allowed my department to reach its objectives in all of the activities it has undertaken.” She concluded that “This commitment, which is a state of mind nourished by the idea that volunteering brings us closer to people, brings work back to the human level in order to achieve long-lasting change.”
> translated from French by the Online UN Volunteer Grace Deatker