by Lesley Tetteh, Youth Advocate, Ontario Council for International Cooperation, Youth Policy-Maker’s Hub
It was an honour being a part of this year’s ICN webinar. Participating as a panelist was an opportunity for connecting as I sat alongside intelligent and very accomplished individuals. Sydney, Joel, and Shaelyn are all outstanding people whom I hope to continue to learn from. Sinethemba was an excellent moderator; her ability to reflect on our insights allowed me to better connect ideas I shared with the solutions presented by the others. My objective in presenting to everyone was to make the experience personal. In making this personal I sought to make public engagement as a young person more essential to people who continue to seek ways to be involved. More importantly, participating in this panel for me was an opportunity for learning. My fellow panelists all shared insights that connected with each other in which I was able to reflect on, motivating me to become more diverse in my work and leadership.
In times of Covid-19 it is especially important to remain engaged. Although the pandemic presents the limitations in staying involved, organizations like the ICN work diligently to ensure that people continue to participate within their capacity. As shared on the panel, I believe it is especially important for young people to remain present in capacity building, public engagement and global citizenship within our means to do so. While there is still much uncertainty initiated by this pandemic, the voices of young people are critical in key discussions surrounding awareness, education and action, while prioritizing the importance of self-care, self-safety, and self-identity among our cohort. As young people, we hold a large amount of space on the planet and will be leading the way we move as a global unit. To have everyone involved – from the grassroots to the executive level – in encouraging youth engagement is one of the first and most important action steps in rebuilding a world post Covid-19.
I look forward to maintaining a connection with everyone who was present during this special afternoon. I am grateful to everyone involved in making this engagement possible.