“Educating and Employing Youth:
The Influence of Public- Private Partnerships in a Technological Era”
When: Thursday, 7 November 2013, 10:15 am- 12:15 pm
Where: Conference Room 2
What was the main topic of this Briefing?
Created and led by United Nations (UN) Youth Representatives, the briefing was arranged in collaboration with the NGO Relations section of the United Nations Department of Public Information (UN/DPI). It was only the second time a Youth-Led Briefing has taken place in this forum. The Briefing featured speakers from the United Nations, academia, the private sector, and youth. Discussions focused on the current state of education worldwide. The speakers offered insights into the complex, global issue of educational achievement, and proposed solutions for overcoming barriers to accessing, providing, and funding education. The Briefing also included remarks by a special guest, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Envoy on Youth.
What were some of the key points discussed and questions raised?
• One of the panelists spoke of the necessity of educated and highly skilled workers as well as the need to support more disconnected youth within the United States and globally. The speaker then proposed that the classroom needs to be made relevant again by using more project-based learning, and by incorporating technical and vocational training into curricula.
• A second panelist discussed how educating a young person can give them the ability to change their own trajectory and the trajectory of their community. The panelists also remarked that, in order to move forward, we need to create a space for intergenerational dialogue to allow young people to be the agents of change that they wish to become by involving them in the decision-making processes that impact them the most.
• Another panelist commented on the influence of public-private partnerships and how businesses can provide funding and advocacy resources where they are most needed. The audience agreed that in order for businesses to be sustainable they need to be part of the solution of creating opportunities for young people and closing the skills gap that exists.
• A unique feature of the Youth-Led Briefing included an interactive activity where attendees were instructed and encouraged to converse with each other on several relevant questions such as: “In an era where Information Communications Technology (ICT) is commonly linked to awareness, knowledge, and success, how can we reach out to youth who lack access to ICT?”
• The UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Mr. Alhendawi, in his closing remarks, told the Briefing that “we need an education system that teaches you how to think, not what to think.” He added that the discussion on education should move past primary education and start focussing more on the access to post-primary education and the recognition of informal education. Additionally, he stressed the importance of youth feeling empowered to create their own jobs, and changing the legal framework to support young entrepreneurs.
• In an effort to continue the dialogue and allow those who were not present to provide their input, the Youth Representative Executive Board hosted a Youth-Led Briefing follow-up video conversation on Vonvo.com. With participants from all over the world including New York City, California as well as Argentina, Australia, and other locations, the conversation acted as an informal dialogue which promoted a rich exchange of information and resources between the participants.
Who were the Speakers?
• Ahmad Alhendawi – United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth
• Alex Wirth – United States National Commission for UNESCO
• Gretel Truong – Global Business Coalition for Education
• Jamira Burley – UN Global Education First Initiative Youth Advocacy Group
• Kamila Jacob – Youth Representative, Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office
• Olga Mun – Youth Representative, Lehigh University
The Briefing was attended by approximately 215 NGO representatives and their guests. An interactive component and question and answer period followed the panel discussion. A webcast of the proceedings is available at:
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