Ziyad and Zeina Broker, founders of the world-renowned publication The Global Spectator, share their opinion on youth empowerment and its relationship to innovation.
In a modern age where creativity and exploration is prized, teens around the globe have begun channeling these skills on an unprecedented level. The once ludicrous idea of students creating their own businesses and founding international NGOs is becoming more common by the minute. But what factors are driving this shift and how can society best support this thirst for innovation?
At the center of this newfound trend is social media and the modern interconnectivity of youth. In fact, recent surveys have found that 77% of teens have some form of social media, enabling them to communicate with people around the world with ease. Further, it is reported that 50% of Instagram users have acted on political matters as a result of their social media interactions. Given the above, the power of social media is clear: it has an incredible ability to influence our actions.
Considering this, it is no surprise that teens have begun taking things into their own hands. With more resources at their disposal and a greater awareness of global issues, this urge for social & behavioural change was only natural.
In our case, this has manifested itself through The Global Spectator, a digital publication for and by the youth. Our experience has continuously been shaped by the social media landscape: having featured contributions from 15+ countries, it has played a vital role in connecting us with budding writers from around the globe.
Having established the primary reason behind the burst of youth innovation, it is important to understand how society can best support this modern desire.
From a consumer standpoint, one way in which this can be achieved is through making a conscious and collective effort to support student brands and organisations. With regards to The Global Spectator, readers have underpinned our success: thus far, for example, our website has managed to reach in excess of 100,000 views. This not only helps sustain the organisation, but also continues to inspire further expansion and creativity.
On a large-scale, organisations can partner with youth initiatives, providing them with mentorship and a bigger platform. In this way, brands can help develop their image and affect meaningful change while supporting youth endeavors. In more recent times, the United Nations has done this incredibly well, creating the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). Adopted by all member states and serving as ‘an early call for action’, the goals have been used as a framework upon which many youth initiatives are based.
Through providing a clear description of society’s most pressing issues, students can discover global problems that closely resonate with them. Some teens have even taken this a step further, starting initiatives that delicately balance and encapsulate two or more goals. The same applies to The Global Spectator: core to our mission is helping achieve SDGs 5 (Gender Equality), 8 (Economic Growth), 10 (Reduced Inequalities), 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and 17 (Partnership For the Goals). Most of our work has directly touched upon and addressed these areas.
Looking ahead, youth empowerment will only become more prevalent. With society’s constant technological innovation and an incredible drive from modern teens, the sky truly is the limit. In Frank Lloyd’s remarkable words - “Youth is a quality, not a matter of circumstances.”
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