Today started out different from yesterday. Instead of spending three hours standing in line for our NGO Forum passes, we were watching the opening presentation for the NGO Forum itself.
Speaking to the group was the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights, Mary Robinson, and the President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki.
Robinson, who was also at the Youth Summit last night, told the forum and the world that what she heard us tell her was that youth were upset because most of the panelists were adults addressing youth about youth issues. What youth want is the chance to talk themselves and have adults simply listen.
Later in the evening, youth were supposed to gather for a meeting to create a Global Youth Network, but the meeting got out-of-hand. There were about 70 to 100 youth there. Before the meeting started, two facilitators wanted to touch base on the status of the youth declaration.
There were two translators, translating into Spanish and French, so those who did not understand English would not be left out.
Most of the youth wanted to ask questions about the declaration. For example, Where can they get access to the document to read it in its current form? What languages are the declaration already in? And where can they go to talk about issues that they wanted to talk about but didn't have a chance to at the Youth Summit?
Because of this process of youth wanting to learn more about the declaration, the Youth Network Meeting couldn't get started.
Throughout this time, I was really
really confused. I was confused because so many questions were flying
around the place. It takes time to translates the questions and the
answers into Spanish, then in French. And most of the people asking
Another issue that came up was that there were people over thirty in the room trying to control this meeting. They wanted to be heard and the youth weren't getting a chance to express themselves. What made it worse was they wanted to stand up and talk about what was going on in the room but didn't want to slow down for the translators.
The fact that one organization wanted to control the whole meeting became an issue as well. They wanted to facilitate the meeting, saying, We can't really discuss the Youth Declaration right now, and there is another meeting for that, and let's try and push on to the Global Youth Network.
Personally, I think that's where they made the mistake. Before they started the Global Youth Network meeting, they wanted to touch base on the youth declaration, and since many people wanted to learn more about the declaration, that's where the confusion started.
People became upset and started walking out. Because of this, the meeting was ended and the facilitators set another meeting for tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. at the NGO Forum youth tent to try and create a Global Youth Network, which we never got to discuss at all tonight.
I don't know if the same thing that happened tonight will happen tomorrow morning. I hope not. It is important to talk about creating a Global Youth Network. Youth from all over the world, from different organizations, will communicate with each other about what they are doing to help people back home learn what we decided in the Youth Declaration on Racism.
This is so stressful right about now. There are so many things to talk about, so many issues, you just have to be here to get it all.
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