By: Jailan Dahab & Omnia El-Sayed
The dream came true! Youth from around the globe came to participate in so far three editions of the World Youth Forum (WYF), either as attendees, panelists, or artists, to share their ideas with their peers, speakers, experts, and heads of state, and to come out with optimal alternatives and innovative, multilateral solutions to global challenges.
How It Started
- It all started in April 2017 on the sidelines of the National Youth Conference in Ismailia when the then-Presidential Leadership Program (PLP) trainees suggested the organization of a global forum to share their ideas and promote their ideals with youth from around the globe. It was only a matter of 3 months when President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi invited, during the National Youth Conference in Alexandria, youth from around the globe to participate in the first World Youth Forum in Sharm El-Sheikh.
- In September 2017, the almost 1000 PLP graduates kickstarted their preparations for the first edition of the WYF, and they worked around-the-clock. Every single member of the WYF’s organizing committee was keen to share his/her idea and experience with the other team members, alongside learning a new skill, and making the shared dream become a reality to be proud of.
- In November, 3000 young males and females from 113 countries participated in the first edition of the WYF, convened in the land of peace. In addition, a total of 222 speakers and experts from 64 countries participated in 46 sessions. They discussed topics related to peace, development, and creativity. Besides, the Forum witnessed a simulation of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). In addition, plenteous activities, such as the Spot and Peace Marathon, took place, all promoting peace, communication, and hope for a better future.
- This edition came out with 10 recommendations, some of which are (i) turning the Forum into an international platform for youth to share their points of view about numerous global issues, (ii) organizing the WYF, on a yearly basis, and (iii) organizing a model of Arab and African Summit in the second version of the WYF.
Capitalizing on Success
- Around 1,500 young people across Egypt participated in the organization of the second edition of the WYF.
- In November 2018, more than 5,000 young people from 160 countries visited the land of peace to capitalize on the success of the first edition by voicing their views. This edition reflected improvement and development in the scope of work and areas of focus since it presented plenty of opportunities for youth from different backgrounds to participate in panel discussions, roundtables, and workshops. Besides tackling global challenges, it concentrated on regional challenges as well, notably the underlying and unaddressed in Africa.
- In this edition, a model of the Arab African Summit was organized in order to discuss the challenges that both African and Arab youth face at the regional level. In addition, the World Youth Theater was launched to empower youth to deliver a message of peace and promote solidarity through art. In order to keep spirits up, the FREEDOM.E was introduced for the first time in a global forum.
- Based on the recommendations of the participants and youth, this edition adopted 11 recommendations. These recommendations included: (i) the establishment of a research committee to investigate the impacts of social media and to study the possible avenues for incorporating the issue of internet security in learning curricula, (ii) the establishment of the Arab African Fund to promote entrepreneurship, and (iii) the creation of a joint Arab African mechanism for combating terrorism and a joint fund for post-conflict peacebuilding, as well as the establishment of the memorial of humanity. In May 2019, following the recommendations of the second edition of the WYF, the first Model of African Union (MAU) was held in Cairo.
- In December 2019, around 7000 youth from 164 countries participated in the third edition of the WYF. They discussed several topics, including the fourth industrial revolution, food security, environmental challenges, artificial Intelligence (AI), women empowerment, and arts and cinema. Also, a model of the Union for the Mediterranean (MUfM) was held. For the second time in a row, promising artists from all over the world participated in the World Youth Theater. In addition, FREEDOM.E was organized where participants enjoyed, explored, and experienced several activities in one place.
- In this edition, the WYF Labs were introduced to develop an environment that endorses entrepreneurial mindsets among the members of the WYF community. Moreover, the INSPIRE.D event welcomed prominent storytellers on stage, where stories of achievement, hope, dreams, survival, or even failure were told to stimulate ideas and trigger minds. The WYF Ambassadors program was also introduced, for the first time in this edition, with the aim of bringing together talented, promising, and influential young people from different countries across the world..
- This edition adopted 10 recommendations which included: (i) launching an African initiative to promote digital transformation and governmental excellence, in collaboration with the African Union and Africa’s Regional United Nations Technology Innovation Lab, and to sponsor technology innovation, (ii) launching an African initiative to combat digital piracy, so as to secure highly sensitive data, and (iii) establishing a Euro-Mediterranean committee to combat hate speech in cyberspace and to develop mechanisms for preventing and putting an end to harmful practices on social media.
- A Breakthrough:
A few months after the third edition, the UN International Human Rights Council recognized the World Youth Forum contributions in addressing global youth issues, a UN resolution which added to the credibility and prestige of the WYF as an international event for youth across the globe.
- The WYF had to take a pause in 2020, in line with the pause the whole world was also taking due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Yet, once things became up and running, all the safety precautions required to contain this virus have been adopted and the land of peace has become ready again to host this huge international youth event.
Back on Track
- The fourth edition will cover a wide range of topics, including human rights, entrepreneurship, technology and 5G, digital transformation, the future of energy, distance learning, the post-COVID-19 world, climate change, and social security.
- This edition will invite youth from around the globe to participate in the Model of United Nations Human Rights Council to discuss human rights issues.
- Corresponding to the previous editions, the World Youth Theater will be launched for the third time in a row, and the WYF Labs and FREEDOM.E will take place on the sideline of the sessions.
The World Youth Forum is an intriguing story of success in and of itself, given that it has proved that dreams come true and youth can rewrite history by creating a safe and better world where no one holds a grudge and where leaders and heads of state invest in youth to be agents of change and contributors in a big story of success.