In such a large and daunting world, it is easy for youth to feel insignificant as though we have no influence or ability to make positive change in our greater world. The title of this year’s Youth Town Meeting conference, “Global Conflicts: Human Impact, Human Solutions,” may add to this misconception. With more than seven billion people now living in this world, can one person truly make a difference? The answer is yes. Even the biggest, most fruitful tree began with but one seed. And so, for now, the first step you can take is to educate yourself on the vast and often troubling issues our world faces. However, as you take this first step, make sure to keep an open mind.
As the title would suggest, “global conflicts” is an incredibly diverse topic in and of itself. This past summer, WorldLink’s high school interns designed and organized the 2014 Reader into two main categories – the impacts and solutions often associated to global conflicts. Therefore, the 2014 Reader addresses five fascinating subtopics, including Poverty and Hunger, Global Health, Environment and Land, Human Protection, and Peace Processes. None of these topics are limited to a specific area in the globe. They are universally present, both directly and indirectly.
While you peruse the Reader, you might note that there are many layers to the topic of “global conflicts.” Conflicts range from governmental oppression in the Middle East to immense poverty and hunger in Africa, or to discrimination against women in our own countries. Displacement caused by large-scale conflicts spread violence, disease, and disunity, thus affecting several countries in the process. These are only a few examples explaining how our lives are intertwined with others’ around the world.
Throughout the 2014 Reader, you will be exposed to the causes and effects of social, political, and environmental factors, as well as the measures one can take to understand and address conflicts around the world. Although some topics may be difficult or emotionally challenging for you to take in at first glance, the silver lining is that there is someone who can make positive change in this world – and that someone is you.
By opening your mind to these important issues, the solutions are endless. So what are you waiting for? As the John Legend song goes, “The future started yesterday, and we’re already late.” Take this first step in learning about the world you live in, and expose yourself to the endless possibilities. Keep an open mind and ask yourself how you can be the solution. You are full of power. All it takes is one ripple to create a wave.
In Gandhi’s words, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Freida Aguilar and Nicole-Ann Lobo
WorldLink 2013 Fall Interns