At UNESCO MGIEP’s first iTAGe in New York, youth call for an education that fosters self-actualisation

New York, 28 June— UNESCO MGIEP’s first independently organised Talking Across Generations (iTAGe) took place on 28 June in New York as part of the Office of the President of the General Assembly’s high-level SDG Action event on Education.

The #iTAGePGA brought together highly-qualified and experienced youths from across the world under one roof with senior decision makers to discuss SDG Learning.  The list of the youth included Steven Lee and Jordan Lin from Canada, Ana Isabel Castillo and Federico Del Bono from Panama, Sandiso Sabisi from South Africa, Iman Usman from Indonesia among others. They were joined by senior decision makers such as Dr. Donna Rapaccioli, Dean, Gabelli School of Business Fordham University, New York, UNESCO MGIEP’s first YESPeace champion Emmanuel Kelly and Ambassador Dessima Williams, Special Advisor to the President of the General Assembly on the implementation of the SDGs.

The lucid and provocative dialogue between the youths and the senior decision makers was moderated by the dynamic young change maker, teacher of literature and music, Director and creative designer of theatrical plays like Powershift and Cinderella syndrome Abena Vincent from Grenada. There could not have been any better iTAGe moderator than a young person with strong views about the future and the role of youth.

After the introductory remarks by Dr. Anantha Kumar Duraiappah, the Director of UNESCO MGIEP, the participants dived deeper into the issue and for the next hour, deliberated at length on SDG4, on education and its role in achieving the sustainable development goals. Specifically, they talked about what constitutes quality education, shifting from content-based education to competency-based education and emphasised in detail that competencies like critical thinking, empathy and compassion were as integral components of an education that is holistic and transformative.

Ambassador Dessima Williams closed the rich dialogue by invoking the role of young people and challenging them to take ownership of the SDGs. Emmanuel Kelly, the Iraqi-born Australian singer and the first UNESCO MGIEP YESPeace Ambassador concluded with a captivating performance.

Recommendations to the President of the General Assembly:

Steven Lee presented the recommendations from the iTAGe dialogue to the President of the General Assembly and other key stakeholders, including the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova at the closing session of the High-level event.

The youth, together with the senior decision makers called for an education that is:

  • Holistic; helps learners to self-actualize
  • Creates and fosters a safe learning environment
  • Invests and leverages technology to reduce inequality
  • Brings young people to the centre of legislation and policymaking

The #iTAGePGA also called for intergenerational partnership among educators, robust and advanced teacher training and most importantly, a much more proactive partnership between all stakeholders, from the government, the private sector, non-governmental sector and youth-led organisations.

The iTAGe in New York was the first of the many iTAGe events lined up for this year. AYUDH Europe will be organising their #iTAGeAYUDH on 22 July 2017 in Germany as the main event of their AYUDH 12th European Youth Summit.

The #iTAGePGA event was live streamed via UN TV and Twitter and drew participation from across the world.
Watch the video here: iTAGe UN TV Video

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