Around the world, there is an uprising of youth movements seeking a new approach to politics and decision making. From Greta Thunberg’s climate activism to Emma Gonzalez on gun reform legislation, many youth leaders have emerged globally to champion the issues of our times.
In the United Kingdom, this week we celebrate #iwillweek, a movement to empower young people who want to play their part in society by campaigning, volunteering or fundraising to make a difference in their communities.
Earlier this month, the UK Youth Parliament voted to campaign for better mental health and wellbeing for young people, after identifying this as the most pressing issue facing youth in the UK. The decision came after a debate on the impact of the cost of living crisis. Dev Sharma, a member of the Youth Parliament from Winchester, highlighted that this would negatively impact young people’s mental health and wellbeing. “Members of the Youth Parliament brought these issues before Parliament, the centre of our democracy,” said another UKYP member.
The UK Youth Parliament is also campaigning to allow voting rights for 16 and 17 year-olds in all public elections. They argue that the generational divide in electoral participation discourages younger citizens from participating in politics.
It is encouraging to see these significant challenges being recognised and addressed by young individuals. Here at Business Plan for Peace, we see young people not just as tomorrow’s leaders but also agents of positive peace building today – let’s give them a platform but most importantly LISTEN to them!