An Earth Charter online course, Youth leadership, Sustainability and Ethics, was organized in August 2010 in partnership with Youth Action for Change. The length of the mini-course was 5 weeks and it was instructed by the Earth Charter International Youth Facilitator, Jaana Laitinen. 46 international youth were selected to participate in the course, out of which 26 people graduated. The graduates represent 19 different countries, 90% of these being developing countries.
After the course, the core group of the participants keeps meeting online to follow up with their plans created during the course and to inspire each other to action. The group calls themselves as a Youth Team. The Youth Team meetings are held every Thursday at 3pm GMT, in online chat room, Chatzy. So far the group has gathered 10 times. All interested young people are welcome to join this global discussion for more sustainable future! Read the meeting summaries and learn more at the Youth Team wikipage.
During their weekly online meetings, among other possible matters, the chat participants concentrate on the following topics:
- present their project ideas and collectively brainstorm on those;
- plan on how to use / introduce the EC in their respective universities;
- further educate themselves through the expertise that some of the participants have, and;
- collaboratively plan on a Global Earth Charter Youth Online Conference that they hope to organize in February.
Earth Charter International secretariat is very happy for this innovative, decentralized way how these youth activists are organizing themselves and inspiring into action!
“Indeed, we as the future leaders should team up with one vision and one voice to help bring a more just, sustainable and peaceful world in the 21st century. The decision we take today should be a firm one since our future is in our own hands. I believe we have the power of technology to bring about change to our society.”
Demi Smoloktou, one of the course graduates and the coordinator of the Earth Charter youth actions in Greece, wrote the following article on the course:
For the purposes of the course we used the Wikispaces platform which is proven to be very helpful in communicating and discussing among the participants.
The outcome of the course is very impressive since we have formed a Youth Team that is willing to get connected with the youth inspired by the Earth Charter around the world. It is an effort to empower youth leadership in the field of sustainable development.
The first initiative was to form a Facebook page where we are all connected and share information.
It is worth to mention that the idea of forming the Youth Team rose through a third week’s homework we had to deliver. Jaana asked us to identify the most important challenge in our community and think how to face that challenge by using one or two Earth Charter principles that we believe can be used as a guideline.
Therefore, each one the participants had to draft a project proposal on how to support our communities in facing their challenges. That was the inspiration for creating a project proposal handbook on which we are focused with the intention to materialize.
We are currently using the Earth Charter Wikispaces to report our actions and the progress of this multinational and multicultural Youth effort.
In case you are interested in joining the weekly youth discussions, you are more than welcome to join us!
I feel honored that I am working with young leaders full of dreams and ideas on how to inspire our generation to be the change they want to see in the world!
“Even though I knew about the Earth Charter before, I never really thought about which effects it could have on human lives. During the course, I learned how enthusiastic it can make young people to become active citizens. That some of my colleague participants are now busy setting up their own projects in the framework of the EC, inspires me.”
“It was an interesting experience through which I’ve learnt a lot, both from the course and from our friends. The course opens my eyes on various useful ways for application of the Earth Charter in our daily life, especially in Education for Sustainability (my big interest). I have been inspired much by the course. It has given me more motivation for the project that I’m preparing.”
“I was able to connect for the first time to a network of highly inspiring and committed individuals, each contributing in his / her own way to implement the Earth Charter. One of the most important eye-openers for me was the introduction of youth leadership. Prior to this course, i was unsure of the role that leaders could play in creating and shaping our future, as leaders were normally associated in my head with manipulative and dishonest politicians. After this course, i understand, appreciate, and trust the new definition of youth leaders and the invaluable role they play. Moreover, the role that ethics could play in motivating individuals towards making a change was also an important tool for me that i could later on use in promoting the Earth Charter.”
“In the five weeks of the Youth Leadership, Sustainability and Ethics course, I learnt so much more about the Earth Charter and the effective application of its principles. It was amazing and inspiring to meet so many like-minded individuals from all over the world. The modules we covered each week were pertinent to us as youths as well as the issues of the world today. Every discussion we had was full of animated interaction and, although we could not see each other’s faces or hear each other’s voices, we were very united in our vision and purpose. The more we shared our thoughts and experience, the more we felt impelled to act and serve our communities. Truly, this course is different from what formal education has to offer. On the whole, it was an eye-opening experience and a humbling journey because it made me feel very optimistic about the future of world. Lastly, I would like to thank Youth Action for Change for organizing this wonderful programme and hope that courses like this will continue to be offered.”