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United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Third Forum

This week I have been in Rio De Janeiro attending the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Third Forum. It has been a blast. I am a Terana Fellow and so was asked to attend the forum as a Youth Participant, (they consider youth 18-29). I have never given up a free chance to travel and the fact that it was a UN event it was an easy thing to say yes to. The Youth came a day early to discuss the issues that would be discussed by Heads of States in the coming days so that we might contribute to the conversation on such issues ranging from migrant’s rights to the new social media…really interesting stuff. The conclusion of our meeting was a list of recommendations we created to be announced at the opening ceremony of the forum so that the Youth might have a voice.

Long story short at the opening ceremony every head of state exclaimed the importance of listening to youth, but when it came time for the youth presenters to take the stage they were told their role was canceled due to time constraints..womp, womp.

My first reaction was, “Oh well, we’ll post it online.” However this deletion caused my brethren from different parts of the world to become enraged.

I forgot an important lesson from my college days, who we are and how we act comes in large part from our context. Can you imagine traveling to somewhere you will finally be given a voice and a platform only to have it taken away? Even now I am able to speak my voice with no fear of reprucssion. The friends I have made while I am here do not have that same luxury.

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