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Youth. Think. Youthink!
Taran Rampersad, 20 Apr 04


One of the greatest natural resources on the planet isn't in the ground. It's not beamed down through ultraviolet; it's not found in waves. It's found within humanity - this natural resource is the future; the generations who will supersede us. We often ignore it, though not purposefully - we get caught up in other things and forget, sometimes, that we were once this particular resource.

This resource? The youth of the world.

Throughout history, mankind has passed down ideas from one generation to another - at first only orally, then through written media. These ideas have stayed with us; they have shaped our course and continue to shape our future. And in turn, we must do our part in this human cycle.

On April 15th, the World Bank launched a new website: Youthink!.

According to the press release:

...Young people, who typically represent the web’s savviest users, have been one of the Bank’s largest, but most underserved Internet audience.

Youthink! is a lively, interactive, dynamic website that provides relevant content to young people, written in an age-appropriate language...

...Youthink! invites young people to explore the research, knowledge and experience gathered by World Bank experts on issues like poverty, development, and conflict. Youthink! also invites young people to share what they see around them through personal stories, photos, etc.

In addition to tackling globalization, debt relief and trade, the site looks at issues singled out by youth participants at last year’s Youth, Development and Peace Conference, where World Bank President James Wolfensohn met with 100 young people from 70 countries. These issues include education, unemployment, crime and violence, among others.

“As a global development institution, the Bank is in a good position to engage young people about pressing development issues. Using the web to reach youth is a natural step in the Bank’s communications and advocacy efforts,” says Viviana Mangiaterra, World Bank Children & Youth Advisor....

There's presently a photo contest, which, at first glance, doesn't embrace all available technologies - but then again, not all of these technologies are available throughout the world. The photos of Cambodia are interesting, as an example, and allow us to peer into the world of Cambodia.

Other related links from the World Bank are Children & Youth and Nuevas Voces in Development. A link to another site - We Are The Future - has none other than 'We Are the World' Quincy Jones as an organizer.

There are always pros and cons to these sort of things, but the bottom line remains that things are being done - that people and organizations are willing to invest in the future of mankind through the youth of not just one country - but the world. It's not new, but it's changed and continuing to change.

This is an important part of the changing world.

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I'm 27, which is probably pushing the definition of "youth" a bit, but... wow, so very patronizing. Why do people even try the whole talking down to young people thing? Telling me how exciting the issues are will not make me interested in them. And I understand old-folks language just fine.

I am a resource. Oh yeah. Label me and exploit me, baby!

There is a good idea here though, i think: to explain what the World Bank does from first principals, and without heavy use of technical terms. I am sure many members of older generations don't really understand what they do either.

It is possible to explain technical subjects in plain english. Difficult, but possible. In economic matters, Paul Krugman's writing is an good example of how it's done.

Posted by: Paul Harrison on 20 Apr 04

Yes, I see what you are saying. It's a strange comparison I made - and it *could* be confused with 'Human Resources' and such, which was not my intention.

The point is that so often we get caught up in the whole 'resource' issue - what's around, what isn't - that we neglect the one thing that is necessary for humanity to continue: Ourselves, and more importantly, the future: The Youth.

I do agree with your comments on 'Plain English/OtherLanguage' - it's not done enough. The UN is famous for all of it's acronyms, and it's a bit daunting to get involved in discussions involving Acronym Soup. Simplicity is lost in trying to keep things simple, perhaps.

Posted by: Taran on 20 Apr 04



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