Young people making change happen
USA: Thirty of the largest youth groups in America have joined together to create the Vote Again 2010 campaign, an initiative to get young voters to cast their ballot in America’s upcoming elections.
To this end, organisers are holding a competition for who can create the best YouTube video encouraging youth to become politically involved and vote.
“We want to engage the youth movement around the idea of creating content to get the vote out,” Jason Pollock, one of Twitter’s most notable voices, told CNN. “The youth vote is energised, activated and using social media to stay even more connected.”
BELGIUM: Youth on the Move, an EU initiative aimed at improving education and career prospects for young Europeans, has been launched as part of the EU’s plan to boost economic growth and jobs.
There are five million young Europeans currently unable to find work, and the creators of the initiative hope that relevant job training will lead to more fruitful job searches.
The programme includes a micro-finance facility to help young entrepreneurs develop their own businesses.
Another proposal, the “youth guarantee scheme”, would ensure that young people are offered a job, further training or work experience within six months of leaving school.
China: Youth here are not as trusting of the country’s government as their elders, according to the Christian Science Monitor, which cited a series of recent Chinese and international studies.
Asked whether local government can be trusted to do its job without public oversight, for example, only 29 percent of those over 25 years old said officials needed supervision, compared with 38 percent of those under 25.
internet use is an indicator of trust, says Song Houze, research manager at Unirule. “The lower a person’s level of Internet use, the less that person thinks the government needs supervising,” he said in an interview with the Monitor.
Argentina: Politically minded youth are making their voice heard in Argentina, where focus is turning to next year’s presidential election. The Peronist Youth Movement, which has been a player in Argentinean politics since Juan Peron and his wife Eva held power in the 1940s, is once again rallying support among young voters.
“We expect no less than 8,000 people inside and at least 5,000 in the streets on the stadium surrounding areas,” said the movement’s secretary general, Jorge Ottavis, about a planned gathering in support of Néstor Kirchner for president, in talks with radio reporters.
The Buenos Aires Herald reported that Ottavis referred to the rally as part of a “new Argentina” that is living “another reality in which youth is again involved is an active political discussion intended to deepen the government’s project”.
Egypt: Over the past six months, about 15,000 youth volunteers have formed a growing opposition movement in support of Mohamed El Baradei, the Nobel peace laureate who they hope will run in Egypt’s presidential elections in 2011.
The leaders of the group draw inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and American scholar Gene Sharp. “We need an overarching dream to make us feel part of something,” said volunteer Abdul-Rahman Salah.
El Baradei has said he will only run if the elections are made fair, but hopes that his campaign will impact on Egypt’s political system regardless of the end result.
Another 9,000 volunteers are to be trained or have applied to join the campaign of El Baradei supporters.
India: Youth took part in a debate last week that addressed the question “Is it the talent and skill of the youth alone that will make India a superpower?”
Speaking against the motion, Sneha Joshi said, “Without the able guidance of experienced and mature people, the talent of the youth is like a wild horse, if left free, it will create havoc in the race.”
But the other party standing for the motion was not convinced. “Today, we have examples of youths who, with their sole initiative and talent, are leading the way,” said Aram Bhusal. “If a youth be a nation, passion will be the emperor.”
The debate did not leave any doubt on whether India would become a superpower in future.
“It is important for one to be young at heart and that is what counts,” said special guest Dr Devi Singh, director of the Indian Institute of Management at Lucknow. “So, the country will be a superpower for sure, but this needs contribution from each and every one of us.”