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Mariam Norick RJM writes about her experience at the Commission on Social Development

“These meetings and  side events included topics like: empowerment of women, youth, the environment, trafficking of women and children, migration, environment, unemployment / under-employment, social protection floor,  disabilities, education and social integration…. each one offering a wealth of information and food for thought.  But one struck me repeatedly as extremely relevant and timely– the very passionate cry of youth for a hearing.  Over one-half of the world population is comprised of youth, and in the South the percentage is even higher. And a large number of them are unemployed and under-employed, and see little possibility of fulfilling their dreams. A Youth Delegate remarked that they must live with ‘the consequences of the actions of their elders- financial crises, social crises, environmental crises.’  So they feel it is important to give a voice to youth, to listen to youth’s vision for the future–‘ a world that is based upon economic, social, and ecological fairness and empathy.’  (Patrick Rhode, Youth Delegate from Germany)”

And hearing stories and seeing films: “A young Palestinian woman documented the harsh life of the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip; in another film she told the story of a teacher who shared his vision with youth of Gaza by inspiring them to build a Formula One race car from scraps found in the junkyards. The horrors of trafficking were made real in the story of a young woman who, rescued from a life-shattering experience of forced prostitution, has become a spokesperson for all who are forced into this modern form of slavery.  Perhaps one of the most touching stories was that of a girl born into the poverty of a mega-city of the First World. She and her parents saw education as the only way for her to achieve her full potential. After great struggle she earned her college degree and shared her story as an invited guest of an ambassador at the UN.  With such youth making their voices heard and working hard to bring about the systemic changes needed to bring about the dream of youth– a fair, inclusive, and equal world–there is great hope for the future, despite the many problems they and we face.”