Two global youth fora look to the future

World YMCA was there to hear the United Nations and the International Youth Foundation examine the direction of youth policy and youth engagement in the post-pandemic world.

Global youth organisations in the 21st Century: the UN view



Paulo Emilio de Oliveira Silva, World YMCA staff placement from YMCA Sao Paolo, writes:
On 22 October 2020, as part of its 75th anniversary programme, the United Nations held an online debate about the multilateralism of the future, and how youth organizations such as World YMCA should act in the 21st Century.

Fabrizio Hochschild, special advisor to the UN Secretary General for the Commemoration of the UN 75th Anniversary, set the scene of a fast-changing world: the rise of nationalism, the coronavirus pandemic, abuses in Human Rights (especially in the form of racism and violence against women), the climate crisis and many more.  This is the environment in which youth organizations are tasked to empower young people to find solutions for the communities in which they live, and the challenges they face.

“Young people and women support stronger international cooperation,” Mr. Hochschild said. He said how youth voices have made it clear to the UN that once the pandemic is over, young people and youth organizations will make even stronger demands for a more inclusive society and economy, for an end to corruption, and for increased international cooperation, especially in the fields of countering climate changes and ensuring respect for human rights.  “Multilateralism should bring about the wellbeing of both people and planet, said Tarik Lazouni, Swiss Youth Delegate to the UN. “It needs to be more human and more inspiring.”


 Youth voices heard at the 30th International Youth Foundation Summit

Esther Hui, World YMCA staff placement from YMCA Hong Kong, writes:
On 26-30 October 2020, the International Youth Foundation held its 30th Virtual Summit, organised by, for, and with young people. The theme this year was “Our Future, Our Voices” and much of the focus was, inevitably, on youth responses to the Covid pandemic.

The event featured dynamic young leaders, like the 17-year-old girl from Connecticut, USA who started The Green Project to inspire youth to take action to protect the environment; and the 11-year-old girl from Toronto, Canada who transformed data into art.

The messages were clear. Young people want to be heard, and youth organisations are responsible for generating spaces where young people can be heard on a bigger platform, where they can have a hand in decision-making.

To our most valuable assets, our beloved young people: We hear ya! Keep going, keep working, we are on the right track! We might feel tired, and lost, especially with what’s going on in the world right now. We might feel that our work is not enough, or the changes we made are not enough in today’s world. But hey, it will never be enough – so just keep working, as long as we are making the world slightly little better than yesterday, we are making our effort count.