Youth met in Falkenberg, Sweden to discuss global issues

International Youth Media Summit was held in Sweden for the first time. In the previous years, it has been held in cities such as Los Angeles, Sydney, Belgrade and Kathmandu. This year it took place at Katrinebergs folk high school in Vessigebro, outside Falkenberg. 

The lawn is filled with laughter and different languages. 70 young people from around the globe have gathered for the 12th International Youth Media Summit. It is an international film camp where young people, diplomats and filmmakers, come together and create films on seven world Issues. The Summit starts with a couple of days of getting to know each other, so on the lawn they are playing a Swedish game called ”kubb”. This year young people from 19 different countries are here. Some are from Nepal, Palestine, Afghanistan, Croatia. This year UNESCO supported four young delegates from Zambia, Lebanon, Senegal and Palestine.

IYMS in Falkenberg, Sweden

The theme for this year's Summit is ”Moving Together For A Creative Reality”. International Youth Media Summit is an organisation that wants to create a platform where young people's voices can be heard. And with the film as a tool, they create public service announcements on human rights issues. This year was the first year it was held in Sweden. It was started in 2006 in Los Angeles, USA by Ms Evelyn Seubert and James Gleason who are the founders of IYMS.

Beatrice Pourbagher Garcia has been to all twelve summits, since the beginning.

It is really important with this platform, where young people can come together and discuss their thoughts and ideas. And they can really do that here at the Summit, said Beatrice Pourbagher Garcia.

The process

During two weeks the delegates make one Public Service Announcement on the issue they have chosen before they arrive. The issues are Women's Rights, Poverty, Violence, Discrimination, Health, Environment and Youth Empowerment. Also, each delegate produces one Declaration, a personal reflection on your own experience of the issue in their home country.

The films are also from the delegates' experiences. Before they come up with the ideas and script, they get to meet people here in Sweden from different organizations. For example, we had Agnes Hellström, president of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society to talk about Swedish arms export, said Anna Eriksson, developer at Region Halland and organizer of this year's Summit in Falkenberg.

Creating a worldwide network

Last year the Summit was held in Kathmandu, Nepal and Sapan Hamal was the organizer.

Now I have a big international family who I can share stories about my country and I get to know theirs. It is all about sharing opinions and ideas on how to create a better world, said Sapan Hamal.

- Ellinor Svensson

Proactive Youths for Positive Change (PYPC) - MINI LAUNCH

Workshop Summary

On Sunday, 27th August, 2017, 23 youths gathered at Villa Executive Lodge Lusaka, Zambia to discuss the various social problems Zambia is facing and to explore proactivity as a solution to social problems. These youth were from different institutions in Zambia including: universities, colleges, NGO’s and Churches. They were shown the PSA’s in order to show how youths in Zambia could use media projects aimed to inspire proactivity and encourage positive change.

Many were fascinated by the PSA’s. In fact, some youth considered the PSA’s as a creative, artistic concept telling the stories of experiences with social problems around the world. Furthermore, they were also intrigued by how ‘abstract’, ‘mind provoking’ and effective the films were. Some even suggested the films could be shown to audiences in high schools, universities and colleges, Non-Governmental Organizations such as; Young Women’s Christian Association Zambia (YWCA), Women for Change (WFC) and other related institutions. Interestingly, others even proposed that the films be shown in cinemas before trailers and movie showings. Also, there was an interesting debate on the ‘punch line’ of the PSA on Women’s Rights called “Shift the Focus.” According to the majority of female participants, the focus should not be shifted away from the males but “shared” with them. They went on to suggest that the punch line of the PSA on Women’s Rights should be “Share the Focus” instead.

It is for reasons of debate on concerned issues that many participants applauded and recommended the PSA’s on Discrimination, Women's Rights and Youth Empowerment films as; effective, relatable and intriguing as they provided solutions to the addressed issues. Even though many participants claimed that all the issues shown in the PSA’s were of interest to their society, many chose Discrimination and Poverty as the major issues affecting youths in Zambia. They further explained that their opinions were based on the increasing levels of youth participation in political violence, mirrored by ethnic differences (tribes) and high poverty levels in the country.

At the end of the event, many youths expressed their interests to take part in film-making and voluntary work as a method of being proactive in Zambia. It was amazing and encouraging to listen to the concerns of many youths, how they related to the films and how they believed the films would be effective. Finally, the participants were encouraged to take part in voluntary work, film-making and other proactive activities to contribute to community development in Zambia.

It was from this event that an organization called the “Proactive Youths for Positive Change” (PYPC) was formed, thanks to my experience at the IYMS 2017, Sweden, Falkenberg and the support by the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA).

Mohamed Sidibay - Featured Speaker and our Global Ambassador

At the age of three, Mohamed Sidibay was forced to become a child soldier after witnessing the murder of his entire family in the Sierra Leone civil war. Released at 10 years old, he was homeless and could neither read nor write. He grabbed every opportunity to become educated: first at a computer-training center in his home country, then at a high school in the U.S.A.

In 2015 he graduated from George Washington University Elliot School of International Affairs. Currently he serves as a Youth Commissioner on the Education Commission on Financing Global Education alongside Nobel Laureates and world leaders.

In February he was made IYMS Global Ambassador for Children’s Rights and Education. Mohamed speaks four languages and spends most of his time traveling and speaking on the importance of education and the danger of a mind kept in captivity.