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Time to have a say: Youth Speak Forum in Buenos Aires

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Member since April 23, 2018
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Seven of the ten teenagers invited by UNICEF to partake in the forum. (c) UNICEF Argentina

Seven of the ten teenagers invited by UNICEF to partake in the forum. (c) UNICEF Argentina

Have you ever dreamed of changing the world but then you dismissed your aspirations because you thought that you are not old enough to have a voice?

If you have then you might have been wrong.

On Friday 20 April, nearly 330 youth and teenagers took part in a forum in Buenos Aires City, Argentina, to debate issues of education and how to get a job in the future. The Youth Speak Forum is one of the events ahead of the Youth 20 Summit that is set to take place in Argentina in August. During the summit, more than 70 young delegates from different countries are expected to meet to discuss and prepare a list of proposed actions that will be filed before the world’s top leaders who are part of the Group of 20 (G20) - who will meet in Buenos Aires between November 30 and December 1.

On Friday, young people were also split in groups and visited different schools in the city to participate in the World’s Largest Lesson, during which they talked with younger schoolchildren about everyday concerns and how to defend their rights. Sofía, a 16-year-old student, was one of the young people in charge of the lesson at a school in the south of Buenos Aires City. “Well, this activity gives us a clear picture of how difficult teaching is, but how important communication is as well,” she says. What were the issues brought to the table by schoolgirls and schoolboys during the World’s Largest Lesson? Mostly, the need to stop violence against women and to protect environment.

10 teenagers who attend the Forum – including Sofía – were invited by UNICEF. And here are some of the thoughts they shared with us on arrange of topics:

Learning from a variety of views and experiences

“In order to change the world, youth must have an important role,” says 16-year-old Federico, one of teenagers who participated in the Youth Speak Forum. “We have to exchange our view with more experienced people and with those who don’t think alike.”

Quality education needs to prepare us for the future

Renata is 15 and she is a student at a public school in Buenos Aires City. “The current educational system gives us lots of content, but it doesn’t prepare us to have a role in our society or to have a better job. We learn unspecific contents that are unrelated to what we are going to do in the future,” she says.

Having a say in our future

“Even though young people are getting more chances of expressing themselves, those possibilities are still reduced. Adults normally turn a deaf ear to us because we are inexperienced, but we’re the ones who are more involved in what’s happening now,” says Renata.

Young people need information of a different kind

Emilia is 17 and she goes to a private school in Buenos Aires City. Although she was eligible to vote in last year’s midterms, she didn’t go to the polls because she felt she was not well-informed to pick a candidate. “We spend most of our day at school, where we learn important lessons, but we need more information so that we can have a voice and make proper choices,” she says.


Do you agree with them? Get involved and make your voice heard. The time has come.






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