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Youth Melting Pot: The 8th Annual UNESCO International Leadership Forum
an article by Avril Rua, Tigranui Akopyan, Tomas Pomar, Harpriya Kaur

The 8th Annual International Leadership training program kicked off on August 3, 2012 at University of Connecticut (UConn) in the United States. The forum, organized by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair and Institute of Comparative Human Rights at UConn, attracted 64 youth activist from more than 50 countries for a week long human rights leadership training. It is premised on a three- fold understanding of the vital role they play in the society promoting human rights. First is that every new generation of human rights leaders builds on the work of those who came before it. Secondly, today's increasingly interdependent global world, where actions or events in any part of the global system have impact on people in other regions of the world, there is a need to build a network of solidarity and to nurture a new cadre of human rights leaders who can educate others and provide enlightened leadership to meet the complex and multifaceted challenges of the new millennium. And the third is that young people are a force to be reckoned with and that the future belongs to them. In order, to ensure that they are effective leaders for a better future, today’s leaders have a duty to impart their knowledge to the younger generation of leaders and to alert it of the pitfalls of the past.

Great minds at work

click on photo to enlarge

The idea of getting together young human rights activist is to involve them in multicultural debates aimed at facilitating a platform for mutual enrichment. 65 years after the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the current human rights leaders are not only be sharing their knowledge and experiences but also training the next generation on human rights. After a day spent team building and getting to know each activist, the forum switched to human rights training facilitated by distinguished speakers, including the UNESCO Chair holder Dr. Amii Omara-Otunnu who spoke about the foundation of human rights leadership and ethics. Participants also had an opportunity to hear valuable words from Dr. Shyamala Raman on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Culture of Peace from the renowned Dr. David Adams, and had an incredible opportunity to meet Dr. Charlie Prewitt, a professor and peace activist.

It is noteworthy that participants are given a chance to share their experiences and expectations on human rights in smaller facilitated group meetings and regional group discussions. They have also had a chance to enjoy the serenity and beauty of the UConn campus which provides an excellent backdrop for what is a one of a kind program for youth activists to come up with action plans and form networks for future co-operation. As the program also recognizes the importance of media and human rights, there will be a panel on social media and human rights reporting.

In recognition of the International Youth Day celebrated on 12th August, the vibrant activists will visit the United Nations in New York. By the end of the program, the participants will be expected to come up with action plans and it is hoped that the training will enhance their work in protecting and promoting human rights.


Question(s) related to this article:

Is there a new international generation of human rights activism?,

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Latest reader comment:

CPNN has been enriched over the years by the young human rights activists who take part in the Annual UNESCO International Leadership Forum.  This is truly the hope for our future!

This report was posted on August 5, 2012.