Last week I had the opportunity to represent TakingITGlobal and feature Adobe Youth Voices at the UNESCO Youth Forum. The forum took took place between October 17-20, 2011 in Paris, France. It brought together 200 youth delegates and 150 observers from around the world to discuss, debate, and exchange ideas on the Forum’s themes and have the opportunity to present their recommendations to the representatives of Member States during the 36th UNESCO General Conference.
The main theme of the event was "How Youth Drive Change" and delegates were responsible for working alongside key partners and members of civil society to draft a Final Report containing recommendations on themes such as youth in public/political life, youth unemployment and countering youth exclusion.
During the opening ceremony, a special message from renowned Brazilian writer Paolo Coelho to the forum participants was screened. This was an incredibly inspiring moment for everyone in the room, and a beautiful way to start the week. As an observer, I spent most of my time hosting the booth assigned to TakingITGlobal in the Citizen Cafe, which was a centre of activity teeming with excited youth and amazing organizations showing their work. I decorated our space with print photos and posters created by our youth participants as well as our amazing banner, featuring work from the "Perspectives" series.
Every day, young people from all parts of the world would visit the booth and marvel at the Adobe Youth Voices artwork that was displayed. I had countless requests from youth and observers about how they might get involved and I was happy to tell them that we will be looking to recruit new partners and educators to deliver the program in the coming months. It was incredibly energizing to see participants' reactions to the artwork and to have the opportunity to tell them stories about the youth who worked so hard on the photos and images we exhibited. I distributed hundreds of copies of the magazine - some people took handfuls to share with their communities back home! - hundreds of bookmarks and fliers about TIG, and a hundred of the Adobe Youth Voices DVD compilations.
The week was a definite success. Besides having the opportunity to share the incredible work of our youth participants, it was an excellent opportunity to connect with many potential partners. The event provided a perfect forum and audience to share the work of our Adobe Youth Voices participants. I look forward to continuing to share the messages expressed through youth media through exciting exhibition opportunities to come!