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Connecting Global Youth to Support Change


New Delhi, Apr 2 (IANS): Two of the largest networks from emerging nations with socialist tilts - the Youth Time and the World Public Forum - have forged a link with India's youth. With help from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), they have set up an "India Youth Forum".

At its maiden conference here, they bonded with Indian students over shared problems and understanding of diverse ethnic traditions to find sustainable solutions to environment, economic, family and education issues.

"The need to connect partly arises out of the general feeling that the world does not accommodate socially and economically the concerns of youth," Come Carpentine de Gourdon, a sociologist and convener of the editorial board of the World Affairs Journal, told IANS.

"In developed countries, the plates are full; the number of jobs is not enough and salaries are going down. The social systems are in flux.

"In developing nations like India, the number of jobs are not enough to meet the needs of the large number of college graduates, all of whom want white-collared jobs. One has to focus on skill-based education and the new economy of love - working around home, health and non-profit education," de Gourdon said.

Vladimir Yakunin, co-founding president of the World Public Forum - Dialogue of Civilisations for cultural and social understanding, said: "Youth across the world are coming together in alliance based on natural values, importance of human life, environment, traditional values, young family ethos, education and social networking."

Yakunin is also president of Russian Railways. He was in India to address the India Youth Forum conference, "Country and Society of My Dreams" at JNU with delegates from 35 developing nations.

The new-fangled organisation has nearly 1,000 Indian members - on the ground and on the social media - and members from East European countries, Argentina, Brazil and Russia.

"Two years ago, a group of young people from 15 countries approached me saying they wanted to start their own movement and wanted us to help them. They formed the Youth Time with headquarters in Prague. This may gradually become a new alliance based on common concerns, values and dialogue," Yakunin told IANS here.

Yakunin said the World Public Forum has signed an MoU with Unesco to start a "School of Dialogue" where children will learn about different civilisations, the importance of equality and dialogues over common issues.

Armenian student Rosa Abrahamyan, 20, the member of a growing international army of youngsters who want to change the world, told IANS: "Geography, traditions and language are no longer walls in youth connectivity. We share a similar will to solve our common problems."

Indian youth leader Neha Lall, who is in her 20s, echoes the angst of today's youngsters.

"Whatever country the youth come from, whatever language they speak, their forefathers have let them down. There are cracks in the system; there is chaos accompanied by hunger and passion as you can see in the Middle East. This hunger and passion will bring the youth together to clean up countries," Lall, the India representative of Youth Time, told IANS.

Sam Pitroda, advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who has lent his support to the network, believes "the present generation is confronted with challenges arising out of climate change, changing job markets, technological advances, increasing influence of popular culture and changing family and social structure".

"It is our responsibility to empower and equip the youth with skills that help build resilience among them," Pitroda said, addressing the youth forum.

World Public Forum advisor Victor Nemchinov, a scholar of Oriental studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said, "An initiative has been launched to create a youth wikipedia (youthwiki.org) where youngsters can contribute personal stories about knowledge, emotions, actions intuition/vision and visuals to share with the world."

Nemchinov, who has surveyed 40,000 15-year-old children in 27 countries in a popular study, "Youth and History", said he found "there was a wish among youth to come across borders and make a communion to reduce differences and problems facing humanity".

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