UNESCO Asian Youth Forum

An inspiring meeting of young people from all over Asia, the 1st UNESCO Asian Youth Forum on ‘Intercultural and Interfaith Dialogue to Ensure Peace’ was held in Jeju Island, Republic of Korea, from 25 to 29 June 2007.

The 1st UNESCO Asian Youth Forum was organized in close cooperation with the Korean National Commission for UNESCO (KNCU), which has a long-standing tradition of involving young people in all its programmes and activities. The five-day Forum provided young people with an opportunity to exchange their experience and ideas and to reflect on the different aspects of intercultural and interfaith dialogue in the region.

Read the report [PDF, 705 KB]
It provides detailed information on the Forum’s preparation, programme, participants and outcomes.

Background

The 1st UNESCO Asian Youth Forum was the third of a series of six regional youth forums that UNESCO is organizing in 2006-2007, following the relevant recommendations adopted at the Youth Forum of the 33rd UNESCO General Conference in 2005.

This series of Regional Youth Forums, each following the model of the UNESCO Youth Forum, was crucial for harnessing the immense potential of youth-driven initiatives for concrete action at regional level and for allowing youth delegates to share experiences and to address regional issues and related recommendations for action. The Regional Youth Forums also provided young participants the opportunity to voice their region’s concerns and channel relevant recommendations to the Youth Forum of the 34th UNESCO General Conference (12-13 October 2007).

Preparatory e-dialogue

Aimed at providing participants with the opportunity to get to know each other prior to the event and to become involved in the preparation of the Forum’s agenda, UNESCO launched an online consultation process through a UNESCO Asian listserv. Young people, nominated by National Commissions and national youth councils, as well as youth organizations and networks from all over the region participated in this six-week process. Since its creation, the listserv has been a truly interactive space for dialogue and the exchange of ideas. It not only contributed to shaping the content of the Forum, but will remain a main platform for follow-up initiatives.

Participants

In total, 59 people participated in the 1st UNESCO Asian Youth Forum. The majority of the 34 youth delegates were members of youth organizations and networks and demonstrated an outstanding commitment to taking hands-on action to promote intercultural and interfaith dialogue in the region.

Youth delegates were nominated by both the National Commissions for UNESCO and the national youth councils of the participating countries (or, in the absence of a national youth council, the most appropriate national youth structure).

In addition, 13 observers represented the following organizations and networks: Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), Goi Peace Foundation, Network for Voluntary Development in Asia, UNDP-Korea, Pheong-Chang National Youth Center, AIESEC Korea, Korea Student Christian Federation, Incheon Center for International Cooperation and Exchange, Citizen’s Coalition for Economic Justice, the Beautiful Foundation and Jeju Peace Institute.

Volunteers were provided and coordinated by the Youth team of the Korean National Commission for UNESCO.

The outcome

The most significant outcome of the Forum, the 'Jeju Island Resolution' [PDF, 81 KB], was adopted unanimously on the last day of the Forum. It includes 43 recommendations for youth-led action in relation to the three sub-themes defined during the discussions in plenary sessions and working groups.

The Action Plans of the 'Jeju Island Resolution'

  • Analyzing the current situation with regards to the promotion of dialogue and knowledge-sharing;
  • Advocating, developing and/or encouraging intercultural and interfaith dialogue (ICIF) programmes, events, campaigns etc.;
  • Rallying support of relevant networks and building partnerships with NGOs, policy-makers (Governments), civil society, institutes, researchers, experts and teachers, UNESCO field offices, media, etc. in order to achieve its goals;
  • Most importantly, encouraging young people, youth groups, partners and networks of the region to work hand in hand.
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