20.10.2011 - Youth Drive Change - UNESCO Youth Forum 2011

“Really, what brings us together is commitment”

Nigerian delegates at the Closing Ceremony of the 7th UNESCO Youth Forum © Jennifer Ehidiamen

Youth from different corners of the world came together to discuss, debate, and exchange ideas on how youth drive change.

There were presentations, interactions, report drafting and amendment. One of the end results was for delegates to come up with a draft report of recommendations. And they did, despite the long back and forth process of amendment...

They elected delegates from Switzerland and Finland to represent them during the UNESCO General conference and present these recommendations to the representatives of Member States during the 36th UNESCO General Conference coming up next month.

The closing ceremony of the 7th UNESCO Youth Forum just took place.

The Drafting Committee presented their recommendations to the Director-General. These recommendations are expected to be integrated into the decision making process of government leaders during the upcoming General Conference.

Youth delegates were assured that UNESCO is committed to ensuring the voice of youth are heard and taken seriously by government leaders. But this is not the end, Mrs Irina Bokova said. It is the beginning and the stakes are very high. However, as youth we must keep holding UNESCO accountable on the promise while advocating for government to implement the recommendations in our various countries.

The President of the UNESCO General Conference, Mr Davidson Hepburn, in his closing remark made some very interesting points. He noted that people speak of youth as if it is a single group but it isn't. Each of us are different but yet we will stand together as one in our belief that we can make the world a better place.

Thus, we must stand together as one, despite our differences. We must support one another to birth the changes we want to see in our communities.

The event might have ended but the process is just starting.

If youth must drive change, we must always stay engaged, act and continue to speak out and advocate until more opportunities are created for youth in political and public life, until factors instigating youth exclusion, vulnerability and violence are curbed; and policies and programs that will eradicate employment barriers are implemented.

In the words of Golda El-Khoury, the Chief of Section for Youth, Sport and Physical Education of UNESCO, “Really, what brings us together is commitment.”

Youth can drive change. Youth will drive change. Youth MUST stay committed to driving change.

May our generation not fail those coming behind us.

by Jennifer Ehidiamen

This article was written by one of the Youth Bloggers of the 7th UNESCO Youth Forum. The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of UNESCO.

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