In the broader global affairs space—whether we’re talking about the future of education, gender and LGBTQ+, peace building, or climate change—it’s old hat by now that young people need to have a more prominent place in conversations about how to do better. But I’ve seen it myself, again and again. At summits and other multilateral gatherings there’s talk of listening to the next generation, and maybe some token inclusion, but it’s always felt a bit hollow. Of course, it’s tricky to radically disrupt how we make big decisions.
On the other hand, today’s young people are better equipped than any previous generation to learn and make impact. They’re also more engaged and curious than previous generations. Add to that the recognition that the challenges we face today aren’t short-term. The solutions we arrive upon today will have repercussions not only for this younger generation, but for the one(s) that follow. Right now, young people are stakeholders but not partners. That’s a problem.
Among the greatest things about working with Diplomatic Courier and World in 2050 is that our mission has, deeply embedded within, the drive to amplify voices that are marginalized—whether because they’re “too young” or part of marginalized identity groups.
Late last year, our Publisher and CEO Ana Rold met Jessica Antonisse, one of a group of ten young Europeans who had been chosen by the NGO Young European Leadership (YEL) to attend last year’s COP27 as youth delegates. YEL has a great mission—getting young people involved in these big gatherings and finding ways to develop their potential and amplify their voice. But the old challenges persist. Ana introduced me to Jessica, and we very quickly came up with a plan to work together that, frankly, we were all maybe just a bit too excited about.
We’ve spent the past several months working together. Diplomatic Courier’s editorial team worked with the YEL youth delegates to craft the most impactful articulation of their individual messages possible. Ultimately, eight of the ten delegates chose to work with us on an online special series and, ultimately, this digital bookazine. This publication will act as a tool to make these perspectives more visible—whether it is YEL and youth delegates using it as advocacy material or whether it is Diplomatic Courier and our partners using it to show how many powerful insights young people have to offer.
On a more personal note, this is one of the more rewarding projects I’ve taken on during my time at Diplomatic Courier. We talk a lot about being good ancestors here, and we talk a lot about being intentionally optimistic about prospects for the future. All of this is about generational thinking, and working with the YEL cohort has done a lot to bolster my faith that the generations following mine will do far more far better than my generation managed.
We hope that when you read this, you’ll feel the same. The future of humanity is in good hands, we just need to do a better job of making today’s young people—the stewards of that future—meaningful partners.