Personal perspective on the participation in the 9th UNESCO Youth Forum
Before the start of the 9th Youth Forum of UNESCO, I did not know what to expect. I’ve heard of UN conferences and Forums before, but never could imagine that 500 people from all around the world could actually be gathered on one place. I have to admit, it sounded a bit scary. I find it hard to reach an agreement with people of the same nationality, and couldn’t even imagine how the process would look like with such a diverse group.
But on the other hand, I was very excited. Happy and excited to sit on the same ‘global’ table with representatives from the rest of the world, and discuss. Discuss endlessly, and at time hopelessly, but just be there and discuss. Sometimes, just discussing certain issues reflects dedication and commitment, reflects will towards making this world a better place. For me it meant that we are all here, ready to take ownership and responsibility of our planet, of our processes, of our education, and we are ready to take it now. Not tomorrow.
The Forum was divided in 8 topics, relevant to the new United Nation’s SDGs, and I took part in the one about "Rights, freedoms and responsibilities". The idea was to discuss within the framework of this topic about our predicted and desired futures, and come up with youth recommendations that would shift the focus of UNESCO and enrich it with the youth perspective.
The discussions were as intense, diverse and challenging, as they were harmonized and enjoyable. All of us coming from different parts of the world, some of our homes were on the map, some not, but we all were facing the same issues. The discussions evolved around education, global citizenship, discrimination, inequality… At the end we realized that within all of the eight sub-groups, the same topics were prioritized. That means, that something currently happening in this world is wrong, and regarding the perspective you choose to look at things, none of us could avoid it. This was as powerful as it could be, sending a clear message to the UN and UNESCO, that we need a change, and we need it now. But more importantly, we young people want to be a part of that change.
The last day I was chosen to be part of the rapporteur team, and together with other rapporteurs from other sub-groups we had meetings, trying to finalize the recommendations, and present them in the final plenary in front of the deputy Director General. The final process reflected the beauty and challenge of the diverse group, and added value to our single idea of Action !
After presenting and finishing this 3-day intense challenge, I came home happy and terrified. Happy to be part of it. Terrified to see for the first time what it means to shape things globally, and how much work we still need to do.
Let’s keep up the good work, and let’s keep the global perspective at the back of our minds, just in case!
Intern at Youth for Exchange and Understanding International