Monday, March 21, 2011

"My City Too" seminar on localism, youth and the built environment

The British coalition government is working to get its Localism Bill through Parliament. Among other things, the bill would place responsibility for decisions about planning and the built environment with local authorities and communities. Open-City is hosting a seminar on youth participation and localism at London's Royal College of Physicians on March 23. Young Ambassadors from Open-City's My City Too program and local authority representatives will outline proposals to get young people involved in the localism agenda in their communities and neighborhoods.

The My City Too campaign prepares young Londoners aged 12-19 to participate in decisions about the future of their neighborhoods, boroughs and city through action research projects, monthly forums, intergenerational workshops with city planners, surveys, and even a forum for mayoral candidates in 2008.

For more information about the seminar, see Localism, Youth and the Built Environment: an Open-City knowledge-sharing seminar.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Obama administration will attend 100 "Roundtables with Young Americans"

The Obama administration is encouraging communities around the U.S. to host "Roundtables with Young Americans" to discuss community problems, identify solutions and share success stories. The President says he values solutions from young people, and to prove it his administration will attend one hundred of these roundtables as part of an initiative called "Your Future, Your Solutions: 100 Youth Strategies for Winning the Future."

Roundtable participants can submit the results to the White House Youth Team, which will compile them in a database of models that can be replicated in other communities. The Youth Team will follow up with participants to let them know about other opportunities to connect with the White House, such as web chats and conference calls.

You can find information about how to hold a roundtable and possibly get a White House visit here.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

National Youth Summit: What happens next?

In February the U.S. Department of Education hosted the "Voices in Action: National Youth Summit' in Washington, DC. The summit was attended by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and quite a few other DOE and White House officials, along with 300 students and 50 adults from school districts and youth-serving organizations around the country. The summit was held to promote dialog about how to achieve President Obama's goal for the U.S. to lead the world in college completion by 2020.

The Forum for Youth Investment (FYI) has posted a page on the summit that includes video of the opening and a "Summit Sampler" written by Alison Beth Waldman, a recent college graduate who attended. There is also a link to "Ask Sec. Duncan," which allowed students who did not attend the summit to ask the Secretary questions and vote on the top questions. However, it looks like the librarians have taken over. Most of the questions appear to have been asked by adults, and the top five questions are all about school libraries.

It's great to see the White House and the Department of Education seeking input from young people. The question, though, is what happens next? Did students' words have any influence on the decisions that will be made by the federal officials who attended? How will we know? If students had been asked what they think the President's goal for education should be, would they have chosen the same one he did? Do students even care if the U.S. leads the world in college completion?

Again, it's great to see the administration reaching out to students. But it will be even more interesting to see the follow-up. The FYI summit page indicates that Alison plans to write more on "edutainment, 'streets instead of schools,' and what happens when we’ve already talked to our Senators?" Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Symposium on youth participation in international decision-making to be held in May

The British Council and the Open Society Foundation, in partnership with the British Youth Council and the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council, are sponsoring a symposium on "Meaningful Participation by Young People in International Decision-making: Principles, Practice and Standards for the Future" May 16-18 in London. The symposium will bring together stakeholders from around the world to discuss effective practice and begin to develop a foundation for international standards for youth participation in international decision-making. The symposium will include stakeholder dialogues, thematic working groups; focused input from decision-makers, and a voice for young people.

For more information and to register your interest, please contact Sheila Mykoo at: or by phone at: +44 (0) 20 7389 4217.

Source: United Nations Youth Flash Vol. 8, No. 2, February 2011

Human settlements youth summit to be held in South Africa

South African Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwhale has called for a Human Settlements Youth Summit to increase youth involvement in designing future towns and cities in South Africa. On February 24 Sexwhale convened a roundtable meeting attended by over 50 leaders of South African youth organizations. A number of political and civil society organizations were also represented at the roundtable. Sexwhale told the roundtable participants,
We need young South Africans to take our vision forward, as we fully support the notion of "nothing about us without us." We want you to go back to your members and mobilise them behind the summit. We want you to prepare your thinking around this subject.
The summit is part of the Minister's Settlements 2030 Vision.

Media statement from the Human Settlements Ministry : Sexwhale calls on youth to get involved in the future of human settlements