Viewpoint By Bill Reese
The other day I was fortunate to be surrounded by a group of 20 CEOs and founders who are using the latest technologies and innovative strategies to change the "business as usual" mentality in their communities. No, I was not in some board room in New York or a corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley. I was in a farming community outside São Paulo, Brazil, where I was meeting with young social entrepreneurs from 18 countries who had founded their own organizations. They were in Brazil to attend an intensive week-long retreat that was offering leadership training as well as invaluable opportunities to network and learn from each other.
By Kim McCormick
Yesterday I attended USAID’s Education Summit in Washington, DC, which addressed a subject of great interest to IYF: youth workforce development. Especially as we near International Youth Day, I was pleased to see a number of familiar faces engaged in such critical conversations about meaningful and effective education and training for young people around the world.
In one of the sessions, IYF board member Dina Buchbinder of Mexico joined representatives from South Sudan and Sierra Leone in adding a refreshing youth perspective to the day’s agenda. I appreciated their emphasis on the fact that educating young people and training them for jobs cannot be separated from instilling values and preparing youth to be global citizens. “From what we have seen, it does make a dramatic difference when youth have a sense of belonging, have a sense of empowerment, have a sense of what they’re capable of,” said Buchbinder. “If we have this and then technical skills, we will be competitive.”
Earlier this month, I flew from Mexico City to Washington, DC, to participate in the USAID Education Summit and a round table discussion at the World Affairs Council. Wearing “three hats” – as Founder and Director of Deport-es para Compartir/Sports for Sharing, a YouthActionNet Fellow, and a current member of the International Youth Foundation (IYF) Board of Directors – I had the opportunity to listen to different points of view and add my voice to discussions around the future of young peo ple, especially when it comes to the challenges they face today securing jobs and livelihoods.
There was much talk during those days about teaching young people how to fish, rather than just feeding them. What does this really mean? In Mexico, where the population has doubled… twice…since 1950, there are 112 million people, and over 43 million of them are under 20. Sadly, one of every 10 Mexican youth is a “NI-NI” – neither studying nor working. So, when it comes to “fishing,” today’s challenges will require much more than just learning new technical skills. We need people who are able to adapt to a quickly changing world.