Being elected was an incredible moment for Thrinayani and I, but now it’s time to start our work. We travelled to Cardiff Bay for a residential, where we explored what it meant to be the UK Young Ambassadors to the Commonwealth, and what we intended to do for our term.
It was exciting to see the potential that young people have within the context of the Commonwealth, especially in very uncertain times, but in order to work within the Commonwealth, we had to understand what it actually is.
The Commonwealth is a network of 52 countries across the world, which is made up of 2.4 billion people, who meet biennially to discuss topical issues like climate change. The next Commonwealth Summit is in London this coming April, which we started preparing for in the residential. There’s so much to the network, but this shows just how big the partnership is.
I totally underestimated how influential the Commonwealth really is, and how much amazing work happens in the organisations under it, so it was great to get an insight by Leon, the UKYA I succeeded.
Afterwards, we started creating our projects, such as workshops designed to further understanding of the Commonwealth among youth. However, our priority right now is running a mass consultation of what young people in the UK want, so that we represent you as best as we can. After all, you elected us for that very reason.
Watch out for more updates from the Commonwealth!
The British Youth Council is partnering up with the European Youth Forum in order to bring its delegation and activities at the upcoming YO!FEST, organised in Strasbourg on the 1st and 2nd of June 2018. YO!FEST is the biggest European youth festival organised in the European Youth Parliament, focused on providing a framework for young people all over Europe to get informed, debate around and contribute to the topics which are of their interest. You can find more info about YO!FEST here: http://www.yofest.eu/
The British Youth Council will be involved in the upcoming 2018 YO!FEST through two different aspects. Firstly, we will be showcasing our campaign on Votes@16 in the ”Apart and Together: Working out for a stronger Europe” creative hub, while creating the space for a structured discussions of the various ways of tackling youth participation across Europe. Secondly, we will be bringing a delegation of 20 young and motivated people, aged 16-25, to support our activities and participate in the other opportunities offered by the YO!FEST and the European Youth Event .. and that’s where YOU come in!
– Eager to learn more about the EU through fun and youthful activities?
– Ready to be part of a delegation of 25 young people and support activities organised by the BYC?
– Want to travel to Strasbourg and learn more about the French and European culture?
– Are aged 16-25?
– Are free on the 1 and 2 of June 2018, and willing to participate in online preparation prior to the festival?
Then this opportunity is for you! Travel and accommodation will be covered by the European Parliament!
Deadline for applications: 19th of November 2017 @ 23:59.
You can apply by following the link here.
For any questions, please contact: email@example.com
Last month I had the privilege of representing the British Youth Council at the NET-MED ‘Creating the Future of the Mediterranean’ event held in Brussels. Networks of Mediterranean Youth (NET-MED Youth) is a project implemented by UNESCO and funded by the European Union. The project empowers young people from Algeria, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia to discuss and tackle issues faced in their regions, through influencing national decision-making and policy implementation in eastern and western Mediterranean countries.
The Building Futures event hosted NET-MED members members of European youth organizations and high-level officials from the European Commission and UNESCO. The day provided an opportunity to highlight success stories of young people across NET-MED youth and other youth organisations doing fantastic work in their regions to tackle a wide variety of issues. Hearing these stories was truly inspiring and during every contribution it was clear that young people and leaders all shared a vision for young people in the Mediterranean region. Some of the many issues discussed included conflict, democratic governance, youth unemployment and violent extremism. Many of these issues are not so dissimilar to issues young people in Europe are worried about.
I was invited to contribute to a panel on Youth disillusionment & new opportunities in which I talked about the work of the British Youth Council. During the panel discussion, I also highlighted and discussed the importance of projects like NET-Med youth in the Mediterranean region, as it provides young people with a sense of belonging through empowering them to influence decisions that effect their lives. We also explored ways of cooperation and mutual support within the region. Stay tuned for more updates on the topic!
For more information about NET-MED youth visit http://www.netmedyouth.org/.
As a newly elected UK Young Ambassador to the Commonwealth, I feel humbled to be given a great opportunity to work hard and represent the voices of UK Youth to the Commonwealth. I am very excited to be on this journey and look forward to working with all UK youth to contribute to the amazing work of the UK Young Ambassadors Team.
It was my first time attending the British Youth Council’s Annual Council Meeting (BYC ACM) and I felt truly inspired and amazed by the work of the BYC to empower young people.
I delivered a workshop on “Europe and the Commonwealth” with my colleague Bronagh and loved delivering a piece about the Commonwealth. In the workshop, I explained what the Commonwealth is and the many different opportunities for youth voice within the Commonwealth. As a UK Young Ambassador to the Commonwealth, I am passionate about promoting and raising awareness of these opportunities for all young people and for the incredible young leaders at the BYC ACM.
I talked about several Commonwealth youth initiatives such as the Commonwealth Students Association, The Youth Climate Change Network, The Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs, The Youth Peace Ambassadors, The Youth Health Network and the Youth Human Rights Ambassadors. It is through these schemes that the Commonwealth really gets youth voice incorporated within policy. The Commonwealth Secretariat emphasises supporting young people to design and drive youth-led initiatives and it is wonderful to spread the word so that lots more UK Youth can get involved and be heard on an international scale.
I also enjoyed talking about different meetings for young leaders within the Commonwealth. One was the 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting, where youth ministers spoke about promoting the professionalization of youth work, social entrepreneurship and developing innovative financing mechanisms. With our Commonwealth formed of mostly youth, it is more important than ever for all young people to unite, strengthen democracy and end inequality. Young people are the drivers and catalysts of change and as a UK Young Ambassador I believe that the Commonwealth has lots of opportunities to channel young people’s energy and passion into creating positive change.
The Commonwealth Youth Forum is held every two years and is held a day before the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting so that young people can produce a final document of all of the issues discussed at the youth forum and raise this with world leaders. For the first time in history, the UK will be hosting the Commonwealth Youth Forum in April 2018 and we hope for it to be a success.
At the workshop, I loved talking to many different young people to tell them about the Commonwealth International Youth taskforce. The Taskforce will be youth-led, with young people managing and setting their own agenda, with economic, political, environment and social themes, I really enjoyed encouraging as many young leaders to apply and take part in this important role. The Commonwealth Youth Taskforce is made up of three committees – The Programme and Delegation Committee, The Logistics Committee and the Communications and Media Committee who all work together to ensure that the Commonwealth Youth Forum runs spectacularly in April 2018. The role enables youth to work with so many different young people, youth groups and decision-makers to create brilliant change.
After the workshop sessions, young people debated and voted for several policy motions to appear on the British youth council’s manifesto for the upcoming year. Some topics that were debated were, “Tampon Tax”, “Body Confidence”, “Ensure water and sanitation are at the heart of international development”, “Emphasise the need for sustainable living practices”, “Gender Stereotyping” and “Make feminism lessons compulsory”.
I feel so lucky to have engaged with some incredible youth from so many organisations within the BYC. It was also wonderful seeing some inspiring young people become elected as trustees onto the BYC Board.
A day after attending the BYC ACM, I attended the UK Youth Parliament Advisory Group meeting in Somerset where I talked to local young people to tell them about how their hard work locally is making an impact on a national scale. I spoke to them about the different motions that were debated at the BYC ACM to help young people with their local/regional campaigns and I enjoyed talking with them about the Commonwealth and how they can get involved in Commonwealth youth initiatives.
The UK Young Ambassadors are very excited to announce an amazing opportunity for young people aged 16-25 to be a part of the UKYA project. The Ambassadors for Structured Dialogue and European Policy are recruiting a team of approximately 15 Structured Dialogue Champions over the next fortnight from all over the UK, to support their work over the next 18 months.
The UKYAs are holding a UK wide consultation as part of the European Structured Dialogue on Youth, meaning they are feeding back the views of young people in the UK to European decision makers. The ambassadors will be attending a number of EU Youth Conferences, where they will be meeting with their equivalents from all countries in the EU, and discussing the theme of this dialogue cycle, The Future of Young People in Europe. Each country’s representatives then return to their home countries, where they will hold a massive consultation, distributing surveys, running workshops, and gathering the thoughts and opinions of as many young people as possible. All the countries will then meet, and formulate a list of recommendations based on what they have found, which will then be submitted to the European Commission, and hopefully can shape European policy making on Youth.
This is where you come in, although our three Young Ambassadors are very passionate about their work, they cannot hope to access young people from all over the UK without support. We need a group of driven, enthusiastic Champions based around the UK who can bring the work of the UKYA project into their local communities. We are looking for Champions who can reach out to as many young people as possible, and who can do this in innovative ways. This could involve a social media campaign, speaking in local schools or universities, reaching out to other organisations that are holding events to ask to run a workshop, setting up your own independent event, or anything else you can think of.
The information and feedback that you gather from your workshops and consultations will then be fed into the UKYAs Structured Dialogue report, which they will take with them to a European Youth Conference, and will inform the recommendations that are made, and submitted to the European Commission. This gives you a unique opportunity to be a part of the process of EU decision making, and contribute to the conversation on the Future of Young People in Europe, at what is a vital and important time of change. This is an excellent opportunity for young people that are passionate about current affairs and EU decision making, and can provide useful independent research experience, as well as offering a unique and valuable point to build a CV.
We are so excited to hear from applicants for this role, and are looking forward to meeting the new team of Structured Dialogue Champions, and working with them in the future!
The UK Young Ambassadors to the Structured Dialogue of the British Youth Council are looking for young people aged 16-25 to support our work for Structured Dialogue in Europe and help us to carry out our consultation work with young people across the UK. We’re looking for motivated young people who feel confident to run workshops and consultations with their peers on the official tittle of the VIth cycle of the Structured Dialogue: Youth in Europe:What’s next? You’ll get training and support from BYC and help to gather the research the UKYAs will be presenting in Europe as part of the Structured Dialogue on Youth. The cycle of the Structured Dialogue lasts for 18 months, which means your engagement will last until the end of 2018/beginning of 2019. We are looking for 15 young people who will join a network of grassroots activists and act as multipliers of the Structured Dialogue on a local level.
Unsure of what the Structured Dialogue on Youth in Europe is? (It’s a bit of a mouthful!) Here’s a handy video guide- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IspKFDRGfd8
As part of the application you’ll be asked to link to a 90 second video outlining why you would be the best candidate for a Structured Dialogue Champion position. The closing date for applications is 28/09/17 @23:59 and we hope to notify successful candidates by the start of October. You can access the application form here.
If you have any questions about the application these can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are looking forward to your applications!
I wasn’t sure what to expect from my first meeting with the rest of the UKYA for Structured Dialogue team, but I was so excited to find we would be getting straight down to planning out the next 18 months of our work. We looked at the three phases of the structured dialogue and then broke down the work we hoped to do before each of the European youth conferences. It was so exciting to learn that we would be travelling to Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria for this session’s conferences. It was also a bit terrifying to realise that our first conference in Tallin, Estonia would take place at the end of October, and we had so much work to do before it!
We drew up a huge timeline and papered the meeting room walls with it, plotting out our entire work plan for the next 18 months. It was a mammoth task but by the end of it I felt like we’d really got to grips with what we were embarking on. We have so much to do before we board our flights to Tallin! We’re planning on recruiting a squad of Structured Dialogue Champions to help us to carry out our youth consultations, so it’s been really interesting looking at how best to recruit young people who can help us to put together a really comprehensive piece of research that will make sure young peoples’ voices from all across the UK are heard.
We’re also in the process of identifying other charities and NGOs to work alongside, there are so many brilliant organisations out there that we’re really looking forward to sharing expertise with. It was great to realise that myself, Lucy and Bronagh, all come from very different campaigning backgrounds (Myself from GirlguidingUK, Lucy from the UKYP, and Bronagh from the Youth Select Commitee), so we all have links in lots of different places. This is going to be so useful in reaching out to a wide range of people and getting our work as UKYAs out there!
I think we all came away from the meeting feeling energised, as opposed to intimidated, by the colossal task facing us. I for one, have bought myself an enormous new diary and am pretty excited to watch it fill up with events and trips and deadlines. Look out Europe, here we come…
In April 2018 Heads of state from all the Commonwealth countries will be coming together in London for the Commonwealth Summit.
Alongside the Heads of Government meeting, there will be a meeting of the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC), and we are recruiting young people to help plan and deliver this event.
Applications for UK representation on the Commonwealth Youth Council International Task Force are now open.
We are looking for individuals who are:
- Aged 18-29 on 1 October 2017
- Available for the Induction and planning event (9-13 October 2017) and the Summit (15-20 April 2018)
- Part of a member organisation of the British Youth Council
- Experience of youth participation
- Experience of planning and delivering events for young people
- Experience of, or an interest in, international development, particularly in relation to the Commonwealth
- Good oral and written skills in English; fluency in other languages is an asset
- Access to, and proficiency in, online communication tools
- Available and accessible for conference calls and to undertake tasks between the induction event and the event itself (up to twice monthly)
To apply for a role in the following committees:
- Programme and Delegations Committee
- Logistics Committee
- Communications and Media Committee
Follow this link for the full role description and application form: http://bit.ly/2uCvT4X
Email: email@example.com for further information and any questions.
Ever since I found out that I’d been chosen to be one of three UK Young Ambassadors (UKYA) for Structured Dialogue and European Policy, I had been looking forward to our first residential. I got the train down to London, and although I was nervous, I was excited to meet the other UKYA and to begin my journey as a UK Young Ambassador; representing the young people of the UK on an international scale. I successfully made my way to the BYC (British youth Council) offices, getting lost far fewer times than I had on the way to my UKYA interview. It was lovely to meet the other UKYA, Susie and Bronagh, and the BYC staff that would be helping and guiding us in our roles throughout the next 18 months. Each of us, myself, Susie and Bronagh had become involved with youth voice and UKYA via different organisations, I had been a Member of the UK Youth Parliament, Bronagh, a Member of the Youth Select Committee, and Susie, a Girlguiding delegate; it was a great opportunity to learn more about other BYC member organisations and to listen to the other UKYA experiences within youth voice.
We began by discussing what our hopes, fears and expectations were during our time as UKYA, it was clear that all three of us were hoping to learn about European policy and the structure of the EU during our time as UKYA, and to have the opportunity to represent the young people of the UK and to ensure that their voices were heard at the EU Youth Conferences (EUYC) during our 18 month term of office. These EUYC are held every six months, in Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria, over the next 18 months. Each EUYC will be part of a different phase of the Structured Dialogue process and we spent much of our weekend developing a work plan, organising how we would use our time as UKYA. We discussed which partners and organisations we would use to help us in our research and how we intended to attend and organise events to carry out our Structured Dialogue consultation.
I had an incredible weekend; I was able to meet some amazing young people, try some delicious Mexican food and learn huge amounts about the Structured Dialogue programme and the European Union. I’m extremely excited to continue working with both Susie and Bronagh over the next year and a half, I’m looking forward to hearing what the views and opinions of the young people of the UK are regarding the European Union and ‘The Future of Europe’, and of representing these young people on an international scale.
Aitäh lugemise eest! (I’m trying to get started with learning a little bit of Estonian.)
Leon Ward, a former UK Young Ambassador to the Commonwealth Youth Council has shared his thoughts and experiences on what being a Youth Ambassador to the Commonwealth Youth Council means, in light of our open elections for two new UK Young Ambassadors to the Commonwealth Youth Council. Read on and get inspired!
What is the Commonwealth Youth Council?
The Commonwealth Youth Council is a pan-Commonwealth organisation that includes young people from all of the Commonwealth countries. It convenes every two years at a multi-day conference called the Commonwealth Youth Forum.
Why is it important?
It is a dedicated space for young people from the Commonwealth to work on a communique which is presented to the Commonwealth Heads of Government the day after the Youth Forum finishes.
In April 2018, the United Kingdom will be the host country for both the Youth Forum and Heads of Government Meeting.
In theory, countries should be sending national youth delegates from their national youth bodies. The UK sends two Young Ambassadors who represent the manifesto passed by the BYC’s membership.
In reality, though, there are very few checks made on delegates – some work for their governments or are known to individual Ministers and therefore are given a place. Each nation can send two delegates under 29.
What’s the plan for 2018?
Plans will be firmed up in October when an international Taskforce of young people will meet, in London, to design the Youth Forum. We expect the Forum to touch on pan-Commonwealth issues like gender, equality, security, resilience and sustainability. But, this will all be determined in due course.
We are also reviewing how to best use the Communique to really voice the issues young people are concerned with. So, the Forum may not look like it has in the past – we will update this blog in October to reflect the decisions made by the Taskforce.
How can I get involved?
Young people who belong to a BYC member can apply to join the Taskforce. We will also be making other arrangements for people to get involved in Commonwealth activities during this week.
Where can I find more information?