Last week was an exciting week. I was running around from youth conference to youth conference, inundated with ideas, and thoroughly exhausted, yet completely inspired. On Thursday, the Youth to Youth community of the World Bank Group (which I am also a part of) organized a conference designed to inspire young people to get engaged with our biggest global challenges, and take leadership roles in tackling them.
One thing I heard again and again from all the panelists was that today’s challenges are truly global. Not just the obvious ones such as climate change, but also moving a nation from conflict to stability, or, as we have seen in the wake of the economic crisis, challenges such as job creation in a national context.
We young people need to have a global perspective if we are to be able to tackle our problems effectively. The good news is that as we grow more interconnected, we are communicating with each other more and more, through facebook, through twitter, through platforms such as Youthink!
I am pretty convinced that today's youth shares a global outlook and understanding of the issues. I can just look at the Youthink! audience to validate that. You come from all parts of the world, yet your dreams, your aspirations, and the challenges you think your generation will face (at least the ones you share with us) – are very similar.
On that note, I went around asking people attending the Y2Y conference what they think is the biggest challenge our generation’s brightest minds should apply themselves towards solving – and got some interesting answers. Here is a sampling:
"Inclusion…including people in the benefits of the globalization process is the single biggest issue today." - Adnan Hassan, World Bank
“Education is the thing that makes the foundation for change…so I think that education is the biggest thing that young people should be involved in changing…providing global access to education.” - Daniel Williamson, Connexions.com
“There are so many issues. The biggest thing is to pick one that is near to you, because that’s where the powerful solutions come from.” - George Tsiatis, The Resolution Project
We also received photo submissions of the work you are engaged in around the world, and we have decided to showcase some of the ones we liked here.
While youth volunteers are hard at work crafting an outcome document highlighting the ideas coming out of the conference, let us give a big round of applause to the Y2Y Community for bringing together young people and provoking thought on some of these issues.