“Youth Factor marks International Youth Day”September 23rd, 2015
Lead City University hosted a special summit on United Nations International Youth Day, writes Timi Olagunju, 29, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Lagos in Nigeria, who describes the event organized by Youth Factor in collaboration with its partner institution.
The event, held at the International Conference Centre, Ibadan, on August 12 brought together over 100 young civic leaders who represented youth organizations, youth representatives, civil society, and the media to discuss the issue of “Youth Civic Engagement“, the official theme for the 2015 International Youth Day summit. The session was divided into two panels.
Gbenga Omisore, Executive Director of Youth Factor, gave the opening remarks, emphasising the need for young Nigerians to be on the move for transformation.
Dr. Tunde Oseni delivered the keynote address, titled ‘Civic Engagement: Why Youth Policy Matters’. He began with the conceptual and definitional perspectives of civic engagement and policy, and then related the terms theoretically and empirically.
According to Dr. Tunde Oseni, civic engagement is the process by which members of a society or community make conscious and collective effort to impact their immediate environment. Policy, he said, simply refers to an action plan informed by well-thought out decisions targeted at achieving specific goals. Dr. Oseni asserted that “all policies must solve problems”, and that “youth policy” means an action plan targeted at youth empowerment and development. This, he said, is largely lacking in Nigeria.
For emphasis, he stated some cogent reasons that youth-centred policy matters, including but not limited to the fact that youth-centred policy harnesses, releases, and exposes the energy of the young population for development; it maximizes ‘demographic dividends’ for national growth.
The panel discussion was chaired by Ronke Ige from the Justice, Development and Peace Commission (JDPC). Other members of the panel were: Dr. Lovedays Igbidion, Country Head, Cobalt Learning Solutions LLC; Seyi Olaleye, Disruptive Technology Evangelist, Neo-Skill Consulting Limited; Moji Ojebode, a social entrepreneur and award winner in three categories at the recent Global Entrepreneurship Summit held at Kenya; Akeem Lawal, from the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights; and Jazzy B, founder of ‘The House Under God (THUG)’ and a youth mobilizer for social change.
Moji spoke passionately, using her story to challenge the participants on how to explore ideas that will contribute positively to the development of their immediate community. Dr. Lovedays, Jazzy B, and Seyi discussed opportunities available to civic leaders and social entrepreneurs. The panelists also addressed the issue of building sustainable projects and how to make use of various funding platforms to develop ideas into projects – and talent into skill.
The summit ended with questions, as both the presenters and conference participants truly engaged and challenged each other not only to be heard on Twitter and Facebook, but also to begin to participate physically in the decision-making process, so as to impact on human lives at the community level.
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