Teach the Future listens to Young Voices and urges you to do the same.
Young people have been speaking out about the future for a long time. Greta Thunburg chastens adults for not taking action on climate change at the United Nations. Malala pushes back on gender discrimination after a gunman shot her in Pakistan for speaking out about women’s right, and then she wins the Nobel Peace Prize! Students from Parkland High School in Florida rally the nation for gun control to prevent their friends from being gunned down in their schools. There are many more. These are just some of the most well-known.
As a result, Teach the Future is adding another purpose to its mission. In addition to our traditional mission of introducing young people to futures thinking and action throughout the world, we are now listening to Young Voices and introducing them to the world.
We have actually been promoting Young Voices for a long time through online webinars (World Future Day and the APF Futures Festival) and Kindertrendrede dialogues in the Netherlands. But this part of our mission got a boost early this year when the School of International Futures (SOIF) asked Teach the Future to partner with them for their Next Generation Foresight Practitioners awards. SOIF has been identifying young people under 35 who show extraordinary dedication and skill in making the world better. This year, they asked Teach the Future to manage a new competition for young people 12 to 17. Teach the Future ran that competition in the Spring and Summer this year and received 26 completed applications from 20 countries. Each applicant submitted a bio, an essay and a short video on how they were working to promote one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Four of the applicants received cash prizes, and six others were recognized for their excellent contribution.
As you would expect, SDG #4 Quality Education was mentioned most often by 17 of the 26 applicants, not surprising since most of the applicants are in school. Education is their immediate environment, and they are working to improve it.
The Recognized applicants also mentioned #5 Gender Equality, #10 Reduced Inequalities, #13 Climate Action, and #17 Partnerships to Achieve the Goal most often. (The latter, #17 Partnerships to Achieve the Goal, was also one of the criteria for selecting the Recognized applications since the applicants had to show collaboration within their community.) The other applicants also mentioned #3 Good Health and Well Being and #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities most often.
Overall, therefore, the Young Voices selected Education as their top priority. In addition to Education, their choices were diverse across many sectors of society, including individual well-being (#3 Health), equity (#5 Gender Equality and #10 Reduced Inequalities), and sustainability (#11 Sustainable Cities and #13 Climate Action). These priorities are not definitive by any means, but they do represent the values of a select group of young people who took the time to put their ideas and actions into words.
See more about Teach the Future by joining our community at www.teachthefuture.org. And listen to the Young Voices in your life!