Former child soldiers, young refugees, social entrepreneurs and environmental activists are all set to come together at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris from 25 to 26 October 2017 for the 10th edition of the UNESCO Youth Forum – Rethinking youth engagement with UNESCO.
UNESCO is bringing a smaller group of 60 young change-makers to the global discussion table, treating them as actors and partners, and not just mere recipients of its work.
The Forum will serve as a hub for concrete suggestions about how UNESCO can improve its engagement with young people. This represents a considerable change in direction for the Organization’s biennial event, and is the first forum organized in this way by a UN agency.
“There are currently 1.8 billion young people between the ages of ten and 24 in the world. This is the largest youth population ever, and a huge opportunity to harness the power of younger generations to drive positive change,” says UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova.
One in ten of the world’s children live in conflict zones and 24 million of them are out of school. Political instability, lack of jobs and limited space for political and civic participation have led to increasing isolation of young people around the world.
The new format of the Youth Forum will connect young women and men from all over the world, who are already leading initiatives in their communities on some of these primary challenges, to UNESCO with the aim of ensuring better collaboration and more responsive programming.
Starting in 1999, the UNESCO Youth Forum has been an integral part of the Organization’s General Conference. At the end of the two-day Forum, the youth participants will compile a series of recommendations on how UNESCO can better engage with youth, as well as concrete suggestions for collaboration. The Forum will also help determine ways that UNESCO can continue working with young change-makers at a regional and sub-regional level.
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