The time has always been right for the world to amplify the voices of young people, and for their innovative solutions for sustainable change to be taken seriously. The resilience and determination of youth activists has been consistently hailed by some of the world’s most notable leaders, showing that they are, as obvious as it sounds, the key to a better future. 

Nelson Mandela himself highlighted the immense power of young people, saying that they are “capable of bringing down the towers of oppression and raising the banners of freedom.”

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan too advised that the world should have confidence in the youth. “Give them a chance, and they will surprise you,” he said

The more opportunities that young people have to step up to the plate and speak up for change, the more they will be empowered to lead a formidable future, for themselves, and the rest of the world. The Young Activists Summit (YAS) is one such opportunity for the world to hear directly from the youth, and for young people to be surrounded and inspired by their peers from around the world who are working for positive change. 

Taking place this year on Nov. 18, the Young Activists Summit is an event that gives young change-makers a stage to amplify their movements, and honours activists from around the world for their remarkable work in sustainable development. 

3 Key Things to Know About the Summit

  1. It’s co-hosted by nonprofit media organization, dev.tv, and the United Nations. 
  2. The 2021 theme for the summit is ‘New generation, New solutions’
  3. The summit will honour and amplify the work of young people who are advancing sustainability or advocating for human rights globally. 

What Is the Young Activists Summit? 

The summit is a global event that aims to highlight the activism and innovative work that young people have put towards sustainable development and defending human rights. It takes place annually in November at the United Nations in Geneva, and is organized by media nonprofit dev.tv, together with the UN and some of its agencies, as well as donor governments. 

This year marks the third official summit, with previous editions focusing on women and girls, and climate action. This year the event will focus on innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues, running with the theme, “New generation, New solutions.” Every year boasts a formidable list of attendees from the activism and advocacy space, and this year Iraqi human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad will be returning to attend, along with past laureate and climate activist, Vanessa Nakate.

The summit will kick off with an address from UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie, and will go on to honour six young activists from around the world who have creatively sought solutions to significant community problems. 

These include Gitanjali Rao from the United States, Jose Quisolaca from Peru, Lual Mayen from South Sudan, Louise Mabelo from the Philippines, Titouan Benicot from French Polynesia, and Stacy Owino from Kenya. Get to know all about them and their incredible work in finding innovative solutions to some of the world’s sustainable development issues here

How Does YAS Relate to the Mission to End Extreme Poverty?

Empowering young people to become necessary forces of change is a significant step towards defeating poverty and protecting vulnerable communities. The Young Activists Summit recognizes the work that the youth around the world are doing to help alleviate poverty in their countries, giving them a platform to amplify that work on a global scale, and bringing attention to some of the world’s most pressing issues. 

Events like the Young Activists Summit are essential to making sure that young people are supported enough in their innovative endeavours that they will be able to bring about significant change and development in the communities that need it most. 

How Can Global Citizens Get Involved? 

While the summit is taking place in person in Geneva, Global Citizens can join in on all the fun and discussion by registering to get involved online. By registering to join in online, you’ll have access to view the summit, as well as conversations with the young activists who will be honoured at the event. Get involved by registering here

You can also find out more about the summit, its partners, and read up on previous editions of the summit here

Global Citizen Explains

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What Is the Young Activists Summit and How Can You Get Involved?

By Khanyi Mlaba