Andrea is a journalist and communicator, interested in environment, development, culture and travelling. Andrea joined the social media and facilitation team at the Youth Participation Symposium and has this to say “If you did not attend the International Symposium “Making Youth Policy Happen: From Local to Global”, organized by the British Council in Mexico this April, you cannot miss this post. Here are my five favourite moments of the event.”

 Read this article in Spanish.


 

1. Perfect Chaos

From the beginning, young people were wondering if this would be a youth event without an impact, with the sole purpose of having a paper in return – a statement that many would never read, ever again. There were false expectations of a traditionalist program that gradually dwindled. And suddenly, creativity began to fly.

The purpose of the workshops, as well as the event’s format, was to encourage people to start thinking about policy differently – “out of the box” – first individually and then collectively.

With activities such as a market, a piñata, the world café and Facebook “offline”, the symposium said a big NO to the usual format, giving openness to the program that was flexible enough to change day by day.


2. 50 minds, 50 worlds

Tolerance + understanding.

As mentioned by Ashoka Mexico’s, Miguel Corral:

“The largest conflict I had, over the last activity, was when someone commented that not all young people should be involved in politics, because many “do not really know what they say”.  I gave my argument against. I waited (…) I listened, and I learned that these types of activities remind us that we all have different views of some topics, that we have to be patient”.

Miguel’s case was the same for many participants from all over Latin America, who despite having similar projects or issues, their perspectives and experiences were so different that the ways they resolve conflicts were heterogeneous.


3. Buy it today, only 10 pesos…

The representation of a “Mexican market” was one of the favourite activities because it served as a space for organizations to share their vision, success stories and obstacles they have faced in the past.

Ricardo Gomez Caro, a 24-year-old entrepreneur and director of the Academy of Debates of the National Institute of Chile, said that this activity seemed the most complete since he “learned that, in the end, young people work for the same goals, but in different ways, as he will return to share this understanding to Chile. ”


4. The Arise of Youth Leaders

“Latin American youth incidence is low, compared to other countries in the rest of the world”

Said Miguel Angel Torres, from the Youth Institute of Baja California.

Interacting with entrepreneurs from different latitudes allowed the forming of coalitions and projects in various places, and inspiring young people to take action in their communities, following actions that have worked in other schemes.


5. Tic Toc Tic Toc

In Mexico, like many other countries of Latin America, being 15 or 30 minutes late seems to be okay and it is even expected, but this situation does not happen in other countries.

Ashley Sturrup, participant from the Bahamas with CARICOM, said that what surprised her the most was the respect of time during the symposium. The fact that the British had been punctual in every activity, “helped her realize that the lack of time can never be an excuse to complete any of her goals with her projects, and in life itself.”


Featured Image Credit: jDevaun.Photography via Compfight cc

Written by Andrea Arzaba

Andrea Arzaba

Andrea Arzaba is a journalist and communicator, interested in environment, development, culture and travelling. During the last year Andrea has been tracking climate change negotiations at the UNFCCC processes, as well as being a blogger for several European Journalism Centre's publications. She works as a freelance journalist in Mexico City for various publications, including Equilibrio, National Geographic Traveler and Global Voices. You can follow Andrea on Twitter, Facebook, on her blog or at The Sunflower Post. Andrea joined the social media and facilitation team at the Youth Participation Symposium and gives her reflections here.