News / Asia

    Young People Given a Voice at Global Forum

    Executive Director of UNFPA Babatunde Osotimehin delivers his speech during the Global Youth Forum in Nusa Dua on Bali island, December 4, 2012.
    Executive Director of UNFPA Babatunde Osotimehin delivers his speech during the Global Youth Forum in Nusa Dua on Bali island, December 4, 2012.
    Kate Lamb
    Young people are rarely represented in the highest echelons of power. But as the population of young people increases, especially in the developing world, a new U.N. forum in Bali is giving young people a voice to try to influence senior leaders.
     
    “Hi everybody, I am so honored to be here to honor all youth leaders from all around the world, who can not only change the world, but will change the world to become a better place," said 26-year-old Agnes Monica, an Indonesian singer and actress, today on stage for a very different reason.
     
    Agnes is one of the 900 youth delegates attending a three-day youth forum held on the Indonesian resort island of Bali this week.
     
    Run by the United Nations Population Fund, the event is designed to give young people a voice, says UNFPA executive director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin.
     
    “What we have done is allow international coordinating groups of young people to determine the agenda, to determine what they want to talk about, and we are hoping that at the end of this meeting they will determine the future of the world and what should that look like,” explained Osotimehin.
     
    Some 43 percent of the global population is under 25 years old, and the numbers of youth are growing fastest in the developing world.
     
    In Indonesia, more than 60 million people are in their early 20's. In Africa, more than 70 percent of the population is under the age of 30.
     
    While economists tout the benefits of a burgeoning labor force in developing countries such as Indonesia - the number of unemployed young people is higher than ever before.
     
    “Having an education is not supposed to be a lucky outcome. Having an education that leads to a job, earns you gainful employment, it’s not supposed to be a lucky outbreak,” stated 27-year-old Chernor Bah, a youth activist from Sierra Leone, speaking at the forum.
     
    He says that for many young people, an education is something they can only dream about. And at the policymaking level, young people barely represent.
     
    But the Bali forum is different.
     
    Alongside policy makers, hundreds of young people from 150 countries are working on recommendations in regard to health, education and reproductive rights.
     
    “Young people have been leading the process, very collaboratively but also in a very open and [in a] honest way. I think when we put our voices together and all our cultures melding and all those barriers that you see and about spoken in the press, they are not exhibited here," Chernor said. "We are young people who want to own our future and define it and be part of the process of making it.
     
    The results will be presented to the U.N. Secretary General and considered by other U.N. bodies in their future development planning.
     
    It sounds good in theory, but is it likely to happen?
     
    “I have to say I am cautiously optimistic, I have been a youth advocate before on some of these issues and sometimes after those meetings you think, ‘wow we just nailed it and it is going to be reflected in the outcome eventually,’ but often it isn’t,” Bah noted.
     
    For those not physically present in Bali, the forum has organized an online forum called the World Café.
     
    So far more than 2,000 young people from 26 countries have logged in.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.