Youth in Development Forum

Introduction

The Bulgarian NGO, Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation (WCIF) invited Future Generations China to be its Chinese partner for the 2011 "Youth in Development" forum. Future Generations China has selected eight Chinese youth to participate in the forum, which will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria in June 2011.


The China Team

Eric Zhang - Tsinghua University

In 2008, I served as an investigator on the 5.12 Earthquake Investigation team organized by the National Development and Reform Commission. I interviewed dozens of families of refugees, shared their feelings and uncovered the stories behind their struggles. I have volunteered as an accreditation assistant in the "Good Luck Beijing" Olympic Test Games and Beijing Paralympics, where I enjoyed working with our international guests. I have volunteered as a biology teacher for middle school children in migrant worker schools in Beijing, not only to teach course material but also to spread the ideas of dreaming big, working hard and never losing hope.


Irene Wu - Beijing Language and Culture University

In November of 2010, I organized an international forum with a focus on sustainable development called the Global Leaders Sustainability Forum, calling on youth in China to act for positive changes toward our environment. I feel that young people, who will be the leaders of tomorrow’s world, should take on the challenge of climate change and embrace the opportunities of the fifth economic wave to make environmental progress.


Marvin Nala - Renmin University

I am the founder of the national AIDS advocacy project, which brought urgent education to 4,000 migrant children from 5 cities with the help of 27 international and 30 Chinese volunteers. In 2010, I was a member of the COP16 China Youth Delegations as well as the China Youth Climate Action Network. Now I am tracking the UN climate talk with the "Adopt a Negotiator" project funded by the Global Campaign for Climate Change.


Melinda Xu - Wuhan University

I taught high school freshmen and it was during this year that I began to pay attention to "left behind children" whose parents go to urban centers in search of jobs. My students were at the point between childhood and adulthood. They were more independent, sensitive and rebellious; therefore, it was harder to open their hearts and help them.


Zhou Yuelin - Peking University

In the summer of 2010, I went to Qinghai province as a volunteer of Xinxin Educational Foundation, which donates to primary schools in poor areas. Our team went to investigate resource allocation and school needs. I interviewed the headmasters, teachers, and students in the schools, wrote reports about conditions there and contacted local officials in the education system. This was my first time visiting poor, rural China. It showed me the enormous disparity of living standards and education between rich and poor and strengthened my resolve to do something to help people and make a difference.


Zhao Xiang - Sichuan Normal University

I am studying environmental engineering at Sichuan Normal University. I am also a volunteer with a student environmental organization called GreenSOS, which is an NGO focused on youth-led environmental protection.


Alex Wong - Renmin University

I co-founded the Global Sustainable Leaders Forum, and was elected the National Director of AIESEC (Association Internationale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales). I have traveled to more than 30 countries to promote youth projects, youth cooperation and represent Chinese youth in various global plenaries including UN COP15 in Copenhagen, the AIESEC Global Leaders Summit in Brazil, and the 4th World Urban Forum.


Zhao Chu Caixi

I’m currently taking a gap year to work on my project, the Get Education Use Education initiative, which aims to mobilize urban youth to help underprivileged kids receive better educational opportunities.  Having received a good deal of my own education through the "School of Hard Knocks," I hope to convince society to judge future generations not only by academic merit, but also how well we address practical problems affecting our world.


The purpose of the project is to bring together young activists from the non-profit sector in Europe and Asia to discuss global issues affecting young people and to share field-tested practices for addressing the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. An international forum “Youth in Development” will be organized in Sofia, Bulgaria to discuss the role of young people in addressing social issues in innovative ways with sustainable solutions.

The forum will take place June 24-26, 2011, and will involve around 100 participants from youth organizations in Bulgaria, China, Latvia, Spain, Thailand and Vietnam. Youth activists from the ages of 18 to 25 will work together in multi-interest, multi-ethnic groups to develop dynamic, multi-faceted projects for implementation in their home countries. These projects will be grassroots initiatives that have far reaching impact, involve multiple countries, and address the issues posed in the UN Millennium Development Goals.

At the culmination of the forum, grants of 10,000 Euros will be given to the most promising youth-developed projects created during the course of the forum.

Envisaged impact

  • In-depth analysis of global issues affecting youth, produced by youth activists and youth workers in voluntary organizations, highlighting the youth perspective on development;
  • Better understanding of both the cultural differences and common issues affecting youth development in each of the partner countries involved in the project;
  • Development of grassroots, innovative project ideas for addressing issues affecting youth;
  • Building of new international partnerships among youth organizations/activists;
  • “Viral” dissemination of the knowledge generated during the forum and inspiring follow-up discussions and actions.  

The project will involve young people from the following countries: Bulgaria, China, Latvia, Spain, Thailand, and Vietnam.