From the 15th to the 18th of June our Board member Edvardas and the President Ciara of our member organisation ISSU attended the Global Youth Conference organised by the 100 Million Campaign and the All Africa Student Unions in Accra, Ghana.
The 100 Million Campaign is a call to action for a world where all young people are free, safe and educated, and was founded by Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate who has worked tirelessly in the fight against child labour for over four decades. The Global Youth Meeting had the purpose of bringing together youth-led and youth representative organisations from all over the world to provide a discussion platform on the global challenges facing the most vulnerable children, share each group’s different experience with making change and what kind of role international collaboration can play in our national movements.
There were 4 continents and a wide variety of organisations represented, allowing us to hear from a wide range of experiences in change making and personal journeys. The first day was mainly focused around an exploration of how change happens, the difference in campaigns and mobilisation worldwide and the politicisation of injustices facing the most marginalised children and young people. That evening we also had the privilege of attending dinner with Kailash Satyarthi and speaking to him about the work all of us do. Kailash addressed the meeting twice over the three days, speaking to us about his own experience with activism, the true meaning of compassion and the potential within each young person.
On the second day we looked at past examples of students mobilising change throughout history and shared our own examples of movements we have been involved in. We went on to generating ideas about campaigns and future mobilisations and the role that global solidarity has to play in these, and then naturally moving on to the more practical side of planning these movements.
Student unions came to the forefront on the last day of the conference as we split into groups of students unions and other youth led organisations. We had a very exciting discussion about student unions on a global scale and the efforts we can make to coordinate and work more in global solidarity and on an international platform, with the power that students hold front and centre of the discussion.
We all regrouped for the closing of the Global Youth Meeting, and to discuss our thoughts on a global mobilisation and the importance of solidarity with everyone in the room and the people they represent.
We would like to say a huge thank you to both the All Africa Student Unions and the 100 Million Campaign for their work in organising and hosting such an inspiring and successful event, and to all the participants for sharing their experiences and their power with everyone in the room.