Dear Conference Participants and Invited Guests
Let me begin by extending warm greetings to all participants and guests and by thanking all those who contributed to making this conference a reality.
To all Eritrean youth at home and abroad, I say: You have done your people and nation proud through your unequalled defense of the nation, your National MeKete.
This conference holds special importance as it is being held at a juncture of significant growth and progress domestically as well as heightened popular awareness at the regional and international arenas.
This conference was conceived to provide a forum for intensive dialogue that would prepare the ground for a transitional phase. This has become necessary as our country is entering a new historical period of rapid growth and promising opportunities and when the Eritrean people as a whole and the national associations, government institutions, the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) in their respective areas of responsibility, have embarked on the tasks of development and nation building with greater awareness and better organization and are engaged in the design and elaboration of strategic national plans as well as their implementation in a synergetic manner.
The Eritrean Youth Movement whose concrete role is enshrined in history is an integral part of the broad and formidable struggle of the Eritrean people and cannot be properly appreciated in isolation. The aims and objectives of the national associations, government bodies, PFDJ departments, even those of friends and partners can be no different from and defer to the primary and sovereign interests of the Eritrean people to achieve prosperity and development.
MeKete (struggle, resistance) is only a means; the goal is sovereignty, equitable development and prosperity for the Eritrean people. Even as we are confronted by zigzags, ups and downs and obstacles, our national compass unfailingly points to our steadfast goals. Whatever our aspirations as individuals, they can only be achieved among our people and within the nation that we call home; Our individual comfort, serenity and prosperity is intertwined with comfort, serenity and prosperity of the Eritrean people. This understanding must constantly underpin our awareness and state of mind and it must also serve as the basis of our strategy and tactics, which in turn need to be based on a profound and correct understanding of the realities we face. Moreover, it is imperative that we develop strong organization as no goal can be achieved in the absence of a capable and dynamic organization. This organization needs to provide synergy and create complementarity between the youth movement, the popular associations, government institutions and PFDJ bodies, all of whom have their own mission and competencies. Without such a network mechanism based on a common understanding and effective coordination it is not possible to achieve our strategic goals. This is not a new discovery for us, but the secret behind the victory of our liberation struggle.
And yet, historical phases are not identical as each phase has its own unique circumstances. Our liberation struggle had its unique characteristics and so does the present nation building phase. The current phase of our history requires that we go beyond general and superficial judgments; deepen our grasp of the opportunities and challenges that we face, base our strategies and plans on accurate information and objective assessments and most importantly develop strong organization.
This is the reason that today’s conference, as well as upcoming similar conferences, are expected to anchor themselves on our national values and the overarching interests of our people, take as their departure an accurate assessment of present and future opportunities and challenges, define the mission of the youth who in the history of our national liberation struggle-as in that of other peoples-played the decisive role both in terms of sheer numbers as well as the quality of their participation, develop plans for the upcoming struggle which will be waged on all fronts and finally, delineate the outlines of a new chapter with stronger organization.
I wish your conference success.
May the flag of our martyrs fly high!