UNESCO Regional Youth Forums in 2006 and 2007
The Report of the 4th UNESCO Youth Forum (2005) [PDF, 35 KB] strongly recommended that preparatory Regional UNESCO Youth Forums take place during 2006 and 2007, on ‘Young People and the Dialogue among Civilizations, Cultures and Peoples’, with a specific focus on ‘Education for Sustainable Development’ and ‘Intercultural and Interfaith Dialogue to ensure Peace.’
In the immediate follow-up to this Forum, UNESCO identified mechanisms and potential partnerships with a view to organizing preparatory Youth Forums in six regions prior to the 2007 UNESCO Youth Forum.
This series of Forums, each following the model of the UNESCO Youth Forum, ensured that the immense potential of youth-driven initiatives was taken full advantage of, and provided for the development and consolidation of partnerships and networks between young people, youth organizations, UNESCO and other partners.
The objectives were:
- To allow youth delegates to elaborate specific themes and related recommendations for action in favour of dialogue by and for young people.
- To consolidate and encourage networks and partnerships between young people, youth organizations, UNESCO and other partners concerned with youth and dialogue in the region.
- To define concrete youth-led follow up projects and initiatives in the region, which shall be supported with seed funding through a Regional Youth Project Fund.
The organization of Regional Youth Forums is part of UNESCO’s effort to promote Dialogue among Civilizations, Cultures and Peoples in line with the Global Agenda for Dialogue among Civilizations, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in November 2001. Based on the recommendations of the 2005 Youth Forum Report, the overall theme of all regional forums is "Young People and the Dialogue among Civilizations, Cultures and Peoples: Ideas for action in education, the sciences, culture and communication". Under this theme, two sub-themes have been recommended as specific foci of the regional youth forums: "Education for sustainable development" and "Intercultural and interfaith dialogue to ensure peace".
Fostering dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples in the service of peace has long been one of UNESCO’s objectives and has become ever more important in today’s world, where learning to live with diversity is no longer optional. UNESCO is convinced that today’s young generation, owing to its vision, commitment, imagination and needs, is particularly well placed to work towards enduring and meaningful dialogue for mutual understanding. Such dialogue must be based on openness towards others and willingness to shed misconceptions and stereotypes in order to generate confidence and trust across cultural and national borders.
Young people dispose of an enormous potential to build bridges between society’s various stakeholders and can thus engage in practical action leading to tangible results. So, the dialogue among cultures and peoples needs the visions, ideas and commitment of young people!
UNESCO organised six regional Youth Forums for:
- The Pacific
- The Euro-Mediterranean region
- The Americas
- The Arab States
The first Regional Youth Forum was held from 17 to 22 July 2006 at the 1st Pacific Youth Festival in Tahiti. UNESCO's contribution to the Festival was on the theme: 'Education for sustainable development.'
The second regional Youth Forum was the UNESCO Euro-Mediterranean Youth Forum, that addressed the theme "Intercultural and Interfaith Dialogue to Ensure Peace." It was held in Cyprus, from the 16th to the 19th of November 2006, and was organised in cooperation with the Cyprus National Commission for UNESCO.
The third regional Youth Forum was held in Asia on Jeju Island (Republic of Korea) from 25 to 29 June 2007.
UNESCO has held 3 other regional youth forums in the following regions:
- Arab States: Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, 1-3 September 2007
- Americas: Mexico City, Mexico, 9-15 September 2007
- Africa: Burkina Faso, 24-28 September 2007