In the heart of China, amidst the pulsating beat of a world waking up to the urgent call of sustainable development, the World Youth Development Forum unfolded in a series of exciting dialogues that celebrated the young people's determination for positive change.
Urmila Sarkar, in her capacity as Director of Programmes at Generation Unlimited, addressed a large audience, portraying a world of challenges for young people, but brimming with unexplored possibilities.
As Urmila presented statistics about children missing school and the lack of representation in leadership, she also sparked hope for change. "Innovation arises from the ashes of challenges," she said, igniting a fire in the young attendees' eyes, including members of Generation Unlimited's Young People's Action Team nodded.
The forum's lively discussions explored climate change and the food crisis. Young leaders—Praise, Laraib, Sinoxolo, Jean Claude, and more—shared their actions and visions for a greener, more well-fed world. Their words, planted hope in everyone there.
GenU’s YPAT, Jean Claude Niyomugabo had the chance to proudly showcase his program, 'Youth Engagement in Agriculture and Digital Technology (YEADT),' which was honored as a winner in the 100 Excellence Actions for Global Youth Development 2023. Jean Claude highlighted how this opportunity provided him with a unique chance to connect, share his work and learn from the experience of young changemakers from over 130 countries, representing almost every SDG.
These young visionaries, with their projects transforming industries and championing sustainability, were not just showcasing and speaking; they were echoing the sentiments of a generation ready to take the helm.
At the forum, young leaders like Sinoxolo Cakata discovered energy solutions and learned about the power of youth to tackle global issues. This exchange wasn't just about jobs, it was about personal growth and inspiring stronger collaboration between young people from different countries. As Praise Majwafi said, “meeting young leaders from various corners of the world felt like meeting different versions of oneself. We formed a large family united by common goals and a vision of a better, more sustainable world”. Praise's trip to China sparked collaboration for a sustainable future, uniting young people across borders.
As discussions delved into the strategies for confronting climate change and the food crisis, a clear pattern emerged: young people are already attentive, already motivated. They don't need to be directed; they need to be supported, their passion fueled and their paths cleared.
Closing the forum, the narrative shifted from what had been done to what could be achieved. The advice to the young was simple yet profound: innovate with determination and collaborate without boundaries. For in the synergy of minds and the melding of ideas lies the key to unlocking a sustainable future.
As the participants dispersed, the air was thick with a sense of beginning rather than an end. For the young leaders, equipped with the tools and support from GenU, the forum was not a culmination but a launchpad. They left not just with memories but with a mandate – to transform the world, one innovation at a time.
As Sinoxolo rightly put it “Let us not be deterred by disparities; instead, let's view these opportunities as steppingstones towards creating more sustainable jobs and fostering green skill development for the benefit of all!”
And so, the World Youth Development Forum stands as a beacon, a lighthouse guiding the young ships towards a horizon that promises a world of boundless potential. A world that awaits the touch of the youth, for whom the future is not a distant dream but a canvas of their own making.