6.6 Comprehensive Package of Youth Solutions

 

COCKTAIL FOR YOUTH EMPOWERMENT

 

1. Collaboration among local youth organizations

2. Weekly posting of local activist events and opportunities

3. Intergenerational, interfaith retreats

4. Youth statements, awards, and conventions plus a citizenship competition

5. Bridging traditional philanthropy with youth activism

 

INTERNET SOLUTIONS FOR YOUTH EMPOWERMENT

 

6. Shared resource database

7. Democratic vs. corporate media plus peace and justice media

 

BRIDGING INTERNATIONAL YOUTH EMPOWERMENT

 

8. Pluralism and peace education

9. Connecting global to local

10. The World Assembly of Youth and the UN Youth Unit

11. Globally active communities

12. Pitch to foundations, individuals and other partners

14. Destiny

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

The following research urges cohesion among youth movements around the world for the creation of a shared Internet portal and a World Youth Council that stands on the grass roots support of global youth activism.As a cocktail for youth empowerment the research encourages 1) weekly meals and conversations for youth activists and allies in cities everywhere, 2) collaborative weekly e-newsletters of local youth events and opportunities, 3) weekly retreats for youth and allies to move beyond professional boundaries and develop personal relationships, 4) collaboratively built youth platforms/statements, 5) awards and recognition for youth activism, 6) democratically created youth leadership councils, 7) conventions and forums for youth to dialogue with business, non-profit, and governmental leaders, 8) school led activism and citizenship project competitions, 9) and youth led, transparent philanthropy foundations.

 

As an Internet component the research encourages the creation of a portal for youth activism connecting 1) an open shared resource database and 2) a for youth/by youth news center supporting free, transparent democratically empowered media coupled with 3) syndicated for youth/by youth peace and justice media.

 

As a cocktail for supporting international youth collaboration the research supports 1) international schools and student exchanges coupled with service work, 2) peace education 3) interfaith community building coupled with service work, 4) online international collaboration and community building, and 5) youth led, issue focused international conferences to facilitate greater organizing.

 

The document concludes by 1) outlining collaborative projects for youth organizations, 2) recommending conversations with the World Assembly of Youth and the UN Youth Unit, 3) engaging existing global communities in youthMovements.org, 4) arguing for foundation supported local to regional to global gatherings, and 5) reviewing and linking to groups seeking world democracy.

 

 

COCKTAIL FOR YOUTH EMPOWERMENT

 

1. Collaboration among local youth organizations

 

In January 1998 Chicago youth activists began gathering each Tuesday night for a meal.In a few months near 100 activists were showing up each week.It became the center for networking, idea sharing, friendship building and collaboration in the Chicago youth movement.In February, 2001 the same practice began in New York, DC, and Sao Paulo.It was the seed for building relationships across networks.

 

2. Weekly posting of local activist events and opportunities

 

In 1998 Amy Wagner of Youth Activist ~ Youth Allies (a project of the Wagner Foundation) hired a few high school activists.†† They made site visits to dozens of youth organizations in New York City, gathered email addresses, and collected event announcements.Each Monday they broadcast the events-list via email and fax.Now, three years later 4000 people participate in the mailing list.Teachers and community leaders refer to it as one of the top resources for engaging young people in action.http://www.youthlink.org/yaya

 

3. Intergenerational, interfaith retreats

 

In 1997 the Interfaith Center of New York began organizing intergenerational, interfaith retreats in the suburbs the city.The retreats, still ongoing in 2001, celebrate diversity, introduce organizers (young and old) to each other and interconnect networks.In 2001 youth organizers began to hold retreats every weekend improving the opportunities for more people to build relationships with activists and expand the community.Retreats are especially effective because the participants move beyond professional relationships and develop personal ones.In NYC the initiative has become one of the best ways to inspire new activism and build trust between groups.

 

4. Youth statements, awards, and conventions plus a citizenship competition

 

In 1995 Peter Raducha was frustrated with the absent voice and activity of youth in problem solving.He joined the Foundation of America: Youth in Action, connected withgroups of young people and organized several programs: 1) awards for young people who made a difference in their communities, 2) a survey asking youth to identify problems in their communities and suggest solutions, a 3) youth council to analyze the responses and build a youth "Platform", and finally 4) to organize a convention and present the "Platform" to leaders.The initiative was very successful winning many articles in the media and two hours for 11 young people to dialogue with US President Bill Clinton. http://www.youthlink.org

 

In 1997, Ashoka fellow, Luciana Martinelli wanted to engage more young people in solving community problems.With friends, she founded the Instituto Proac„o in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and began organizing citizenship competitions.Working with the board of education they gathered school administrators with NGO's and developed a strategy for involving students in shaping their communities.IP explained, "Are you teaching your students to be citizens?"The teachers replied, "Yes, through our math and science work."IP replied, "Real citizenship education must happen outside the classroom."After some pushing weekly meetings were organized in the schools.Sixty students, a few teachers, and an IPer sat in a circle to talk about local and national issues.After several months of debate and exploration the young people were challenged to use their knowledge.IP developed relationships with 40 local NGO's (locating them through referrals and a chain of personal friendships) and prepared them to welcome the students.The students formed teams, worked with the NGO's and soon developed their own projects to tackle problems, competing to solve problems most creatively and effectively.At the end of the year IP reviewed the projects giving an award to the best three: lunch with the mayor, publishing a book about the project, or co-leading IP. http://www.proacao.org.br

 

 

5. Bridging traditional philanthropy with youth activism

 

William Wimsatt, Gita Drury, and Kofi Taha, a group of celebrated youth activists in the United States, teamed up to create a new kind of foundation.With experience ranging from book authoring, hip-hop music, and prison reform, to fundraising and social entrepreneurship grant making - they drew from a large network.They gather money from foundations and individuals for redistribution into grassroots youth activism - a landscape where neither foundations, nor wealthy individuals have much experience.For youth/by youth philanthropy will be more effective, provide more creative program support, be more transparent, and develop less bureaucracy.http://www.activelement.org

 

THE FIVE BUILDING BLOCKS DETAILED ABOVE TOGETHER CREATE A SYSTEMIC SOLUTION FOR NEW PROBLEM SOLVING.

 

INTERNET SOLUTIONS FOR YOUTH EMPOWERMENT

 

6. Shared resource database

 

In 1995 Ami Darr observed it was too difficult for people seeking social services to locate them.He created a shared resource database on the Internet allowing non-profit organizations to post job and internship opportunities, contact information, mission statements, and other resources.He supplemented the database with a mailing to announce new jobs and resources to interested subscribers, for free.Five years later 21,000 organizations from 152 countries have posted information to the site matching resources for millions around the world.12,000 people visit the site daily.It has become the central place on the Internet for listing non-profit resources.http://www.idealist.org

 

7. Democratic vs. corporate media plus peace and justice media

 

In November of 1999, Matt Arnison of Australia donated his news-center software to anti-WTO organizers in Seattle, USA.With free hosting resources provided by freespeech.org a new service was created on the Internet for journalists, amateur and professional.Carrying the name Independent Media Center, there are now 40 groups around the world that cover local news and events.They permit anyone to instantly post information to their web sites with the most significant information (decided democratically) receiving the most prominent real-estate on the top web page.Articles may be posted as text, sound, and still or moving images.Unfiltered, publicly visible commentary follows each article inviting debate and discussion.http://www.indymedia.org

 

In 1995 Anuradha Vittachi was frustrated by the absence of main stream peace media and by peace groups operating in isolation around the world.With the funding from family connections and support from British Telecom she started a peace and justice news center on the Internet connecting with relevant partner organizations around the world.http://www.OneWorld.net is now one of the leading providers of social change news.

 

BRIDGING INTERNATIONAL YOUTH EMPOWERMENT

 

8. Pluralism and peace education

 

In 1962 Kurt Hahn founded a boarding school in Wales, UK.Today 300 students from 90 different countries participate in the two-year program at Atlantic College - the oldest of 10 United World Colleges.Today 25,000 alumni make up a global community of people dedicated to peace and justice through action and personal example.In January 2001 Michael Knagenjelm, Board member of UWC, organized a group of European corporations to pay tuition for North African students to attend the Red Cross Nordic United World College, in Norway.These corporations see UWC as an opportunity to invest in international cooperation and future opportunities within developing countries.Michael asserts that this story can be recreated and the result will be more globally minded young leaders, educated from corporate funding, demanding corporate responsibility.The UWC system is a leader in peace and justice education.http://www.uwc.org

 

In 1999 Cora Weiss and the Hague Appeal for Peace organized the largest international peace conference in history - on the 100 year anniversary of the 1899 HAP.Ten thousand participants, from 1000 NGOs, from more than 100 countries formed nine issue specific coalitions including the Global Campaign for Peace Education.Today several countries have ratified their education policies to mandate peace education and dozens of resources have been created and shared around the world. http://www.haguepeace.org

 

In 1988 Peter Copen feared the cold war tension between Russia and the United States.He organized teleconferences to support collaboration between schools in both countries.Shortly thereafter he used the Internet and founded the International Education and Resource Network, www.iearn.org .Today thousands of schools in 95 countries collaborate through the Internet on projects to show young people that they can make a difference.In 1994, to supplement virtual community building IEARN organized conferences to support face to face community building.Today the gatherings continue, online and offline, to build a globally cooperative family.

 

In 1998 Ebrahim Patel was frustrated by the absence of youth participation in interfaith community organizing.Working with the United Religions Initiative and other groups he co-founded the Interfaith Youth Corps to fuse youth leadership with the interfaith network.Today the IFYC consults with many faith organizations and leads advances within the movement. http://www.ifyc.org

 

In December 2000 the Global Youth ACTION Network brought the UWC, the HAP Youth Network, IEARN, and the IFYC together for the first time.International diverse student communities, movements for peace education, Internet based youth collaboration, and youth led interfaith organizing together form a tripod of international youth empowerment.This cocktail of solutions integrates diverse people, diverse ideologies, and diverse technologies to perpetuate a culture of peace.Partnered with corporate interest to build a cooperative global community this tripod will grow, will be sustainable, will become a vital part of educational systems and will diversify, pluralize, interconnect and internationalize institutions.

 

9. Connecting global to local

 

In 1995 Benjamin Quinto entered the United Nations and began organizing to create a Global Youth Assembly.He discovered other groups with a similar vision and founded the Global Youth ACTION Network to encourage collaboration.

 

In December, 2000, GYAN gathered several dozen youth organizations, adult allies, and representatives of Internet networks.The attendants committed to work with each other and to facilitate cohesion within youth movements around the world.Six parallel initiatives resulted:

 

a. Local gatherings and meals for diverse youth organizers and allies

 

b. Global reunions twice per year

 

c. A shared advocacy and education campaign

 

d. A shared magazine to chronicle youth organizing and leadership

 

e. A collectively created portal connecting databases and resources relevant to youth activists

 

f. A vision statement and a call for the creation of a world youth council to be supported from the grassroots energy of youth networks covering the planet

 

This PDF document describes the meeting MOWsummary2000.pdf

 

10. The World Assembly of Youth and the UN Youth Unit

 

The World Assembly of Youth is the oldest network of National Youth Councils in the world.Headquartered in Malaysia it analyzes youth research and policies with outreach to millions around the world. http://www.worldassemblyofyouth.org

 

The United Nations Youth Unit is responsible for coordinating youth programs within the UN system, reporting youth statistics, and analyzing youth policies.It has a static list of youth organizations on its web site with links all over the world. http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/

 

Both of these groups are interested in dynamic databases listing youth organizations and are talking with the Global Youth ACTION Network about collaboration.

 

11. Globally active communities

 

Fast Company Magazine

 

In 1995 Alan Webber and Bill Taylor founded fast company magazine.Meeting a demand to chronicle social businesses their glossy magazine turned a profit in 2 years; it normally takes 5.The most celebrated part of Fast Company is the readership.In more than ninety cities around the world FC readers have gathered, creating a "Company of Friends" or "cells."The largest is located in New York City.A free, active discussion list among the readers has become a fertile place to match clients and to fundraise support of local causes.Dedicated to progress, the readership is young, and a breeding ground of for-profit/non-profit partnerships. http://www.fastcompany.com

 

The global community of Fast Company cells reflects the activity of many other global communities that are allies to youth movements.

 

International communities with 500+ members include:

 

Boy Scouts, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, YMCA, YWCA, AIESEC, Free the Children, United World Colleges, Camp Rising Sun, Seeds of Peace, Children's International Summer Villages, Legacy International, Pioneers of Change, IEARN, Common Futures Forum, Global Youth Connect, Model United Nations, Youth for Environmental Sanity, International Youth Parliament, Asian Students Association, American Field Service, Alliance for a Responsible and United World, Bahai Youth Councils, World Assembly of Muslim Youth, Roots and Shoots, International Student Movement for the United Nations, Youth Employment Summit, Young General Assembly, Emerging Leaders Program, Volunteers for Peace, Cross Cultural Solutions, Junior Chamber, European Youth Forum, United Nations of Youth Foundation, European Youth Forum, Asian Youth Council, European Students Forum, National Unions of Students in Europe, Asia-Europe Youth Co-operation, and the Sierra Student Coalition.

 

Kindred international communities with 500+ members that are not youth-focused include: MENSA, Doctors without Borders, Peace Corps, Habitat for Humanity, Oxfam, International Indian Treaty Council, Legion of Good Will, United Universalist Association, Pax Christi, Institute for Noetic Sciences, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, Kiwanis Clubs, World Bank, Fellowship for Reconciliation, Inter American Development Bank, Trust for the Americas, International Youth Foundation, OneWorld.net, Institute for Global Communication, Association of Progressive Communication, Green Peace, Amnesty International, Red Cross, Ashoka, Healthy Cities International, Moral Re-Armament, Servas, Fast Company etc.

 

Each of these communities like Fast Company fills a different niche and offers a different type of expertise to support youth activism.Our challenge is to create a technology and a system to invite their participation and cohesion.

 

The technology strategy linked at the top of this document describes a path to facilitate the collaboration between technology groups.

 

12. Pitch to foundations, individuals and other partners

 

Many "outside the box" youth organizers have participated in international youth communities.International diversity is a vital component of creative and innovative activism.

 

Activism in isolation often leads to stagnation and "burn out."Every activist needs a "network" to draw from for intelligence, referrals, advice, consulting, resources etc.

 

Many global service organizations (such as the Hague Appeal for Peace Youth Network) and pioneering Internet resources (such as idealist.org) offer compelling, vital programs, connections and resources.Too often they lack diverse participation and do not have truly global reach.

 

Latin America (including the Caribbean) is one of the most critical regions of the planet for the social development of youth.70% of Internet users in Latin America are under 25.At the same time Internet access and use is growing by more than 50% every year.Unfortunately many pioneering Internet resources and global service organizations do not offer materials in Spanish or Portuguese.Correspondingly many youth organizations in Latin America are ignorant about their existence.For example, Idealist.org is not available in Spanish and before March 2001 the Legion of Good Will (a large Brazilian service organization) was not listed in the database.

 

The four points above demand for a gathering of regional Latin American organizations with pioneering Internet resources and global service organizations.

 

Latin American youth participants at the gathering will enjoy: 1) international community, diversity, and knowledge, 2) development of stronger networks, 3) and new relationships with groups that can provide radically new forms of support.Participants representing global service organizations will 1) discover new opportunities for collaboration, 2) opportunities to share resources and reduce duplicate effort, 3) and ways to avoid "competition" and "territoriality" in youth work.The overall result will be a more globally cohesive community of youth activists and allies.

 

GYAN with partner organizations is planning a Latin American conference between June 4th and June 10th to advance these success stories and this collaboration.

 

Each group will introduce itself and share stories.Free time and working groups will permit each group to build relationships with potential partners.

 

In preparation for the gathering this document will be distributed to all participants.Each group will be invited to introduce themselves and contribute content for document expansion.Representatives of most organizations described above will be invited.

 

The six parallel collaboration initiatives will be developed.

 

 

14. Destiny

 

When Einstein passed away he recommended two strategies for solving global problems: a world youth parliament and a global spirituality.

 

Gregory R. Smith, child prodigy and humanist, urges and describes the creation of a United Youth Congress - kindred to a World Youth Parliament.The concept has many names.

http://www.gregoryrsmith.com/unitedyouthcongress.html

 

The United Nations is not a democratic institution.The people of the earth call for an alternative.The Global People's Assembly works towards a vision of that alternative.It sprouted from CAMDUN (Campaign for a More Democratic United Nations) and is a global collection of local communities/assemblies that talk about issues and solutions from a local to global level.Simultaneously they work on projects to exercise solutions.Finally, they gather face to face every two years to advance their work.http://www.ourvoices.org

 

The World Federalist Association, like the GPA, works on global issues to strengthen the world - specifically the creation of global institutions and policies such as the International Criminal Court.They hold a vision of a World Federation. http://www.wfm.org

 

Finally, there are a number of other groups that vision a world democracy.Among them are the World Government of World Citizens, the International Registry of World Citizens, the United Planetary Federation, the World Constitution and Parliament Association, and the World Citizen Foundation.The WCF has the most integrative vision with a document (Global Coalition for World Democracy 2010) that is endorsed by world leaders of wide diversity ranging from both wings of the political spectrum. http://www.worldcitizen.org

 

A globally cohesive youth movement, sourced from pluralistic and international understanding, will carry forward and implement the visions of these groups - creating a world that works for all.