Last week Jeremy and I (Lisa) attended the UN Habitat: Urban Thinkers Conference “The City Youth Need, The World They Want.” Professionals and Youth from 14 countries came together to discuss the value of youth voices. Representatives from The World Urban Campaign, UN Habitat, and UNMGCY spoke about youth’s influence on the New Urban Agenda and the impact they have felt when youth take on leadership roles. Alex Awiti, Director of the East Africa Institute at Aga Khan University, spoke to the idea that it is young people that are shifting the single story of a hopeless Africa to one of a rising continent.

Cherie Enns, our professor, was present to lead small group discussions on current barriers to education. Considering the challenges, policy gaps, best practices, and suggestions for future improvements within the education system. It was heartening to hear youth unite in the progress they want to see. They are tired of corruption, they want to frame their own success, and they want real change to start happening.

The conference created a platform for youth to share on the issues that matter most to them. Empowering the participants to speak openly about the pitfalls of the cities they live in now. They agreed that together they hold the power to create the changes they want to see.

“Nothing for us, without us”

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