How to help the world's youth
April 3rd, 2014
02:27 PM ET

How to help the world's youth

By Nicole Goldin, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Nicole Goldin is director for Youth, Prosperity, and Security Initiative with the Project on Prosperity and Development at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and director of the Global Youth Wellbeing Index project in partnership with the International Youth Foundation. Follow her @nicolegoldin and @csis. The views expressed are her own.

Brimming with talent and ideas, today’s youth – the largest and most connected generation in human history – are creating a new global reality, and charting an unprecedented course for themselves and their communities. They are defending democracy, promoting peace,  and with an enterprising spirit, desperately wanting  the opportunity to work hard, build a sustainable livelihood and live up to their potential.  Today’s young people are an inspired generation, poised to drive global prosperity and security not only for themselves and their families today, but their communities and nations for generations to come.

But we know demography is not destiny.  Their fate may be challenged.  The promise in youth is often overshadowed – and in some cases undermined – by absent or ineffective policies, weak systems, poor infrastructure, unsatisfactory education and training, or inadequate investments and avenues of participation that limit the opportunities youth deserve and the world demands.

Fundamentally, however, young people’s needs and aspirations have too often gone largely unnoticed or unheard.  Why? One reason is that we simply don’t have a strong enough understanding of how they are doing or feeling.

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Topics: Youth
Time to end child marriage
January 21st, 2014
09:03 AM ET

Time to end child marriage

By Jacqui Hunt, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Jacqui Hunt is London director of Equality Now, an international human rights organization, which aims to end violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world. The views expressed are her own.

Khadijetou was born in Mauritania in 2002. She was force-fed from the age of 7, and in 2010, she was married to a man 10 years older than her father. At the time of her wedding, she was extremely overweight. Khadijetou became pregnant in 2011 and gave birth by cesarean in order to save the life of her child. But her own health deteriorated and twenty days later, she died aged 11 years-old.

Since there is no law in Mauritania forbidding child marriage or force-feeding, no action is being taken against anyone who may have been involved. L’Association des Femmes Chefs de Famille is calling for both laws to be enacted and implemented urgently.

Meanwhile, Lulu was subjected to female genital mutilation in Tanzania at the age of 4. At 14, having completed her primary education, she was forced into a polygamous marriage. Local organization Network Against Female Genital Mutilation met with her parents, who agreed return her dowry of eight cows and allow her to continue her education.

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Topics: Human Rights • Youth
Make youth central to post-MDG future
October 15th, 2013
09:09 AM ET

Make youth central to post-MDG future

By Nicole R Goldin, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Nicole R Goldin is director of the Youth, Prosperity and Security Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in partnership with the International Youth Foundation.  You can follow her @nicolegoldin. The views expressed are her own.

Late last month, the world’s diplomats, CEOs, NGOs,  foundations, press and social media magnates gathered in New York City for the “Super Bowl” of global talks (official and unofficial) about the world’s future in the form of the U.N. General Assembly, Clinton Global Initiative, Social Good Summit, and other newer entrants like the Concordia Summit.

Among the hottest topics this year was the future road map of development.  There were seemingly countless events and side discussions on the future of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after their looming 2015 expiration. But also topping the discussions on both the east and west sides of Manhattan – youth.

With this in mind, this open letter is first for the attention of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as the ultimate arbiter of the next global development framework. However, this is also a clarion call to donors, member states and government officials, investors and implementers of development activities – and importantly, youth themselves. Now is the time to get beyond the rhetoric and ensure that young people are explicitly part of the “Leave No One Behind” inclusive development agenda that the United Nations sets, but thousands of individuals and organizations act upon.  And billions, young and old, are affected by.

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Topics: Youth
The right to education is under siege
October 9th, 2013
11:31 AM ET

The right to education is under siege

By Diya Nijhowne, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Diya Nijhowne is the director of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, which was established in 2010 by groups concerned about ongoing attacks on educational institutions, their students, and staff in countries affected by conflict. The views expressed are the author’s own.

One year ago today, Malala Yousefzai and her classmates were on their way home from school in the Swat Valley, Pakistan, when two men stopped their school bus and climbed aboard. Malala described what happened next: “The Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends too.”

Although the girls were badly injured, all three thankfully survived. Unfortunately, Malala and her classmates were not the only Pakistani students attacked in the past year. In June, for example, 14 female university students were killed when militants blew up their bus in Quetta, Balochistan, a western province.

Pakistan’s teachers and administrators have also been targeted. Five teachers were killed in January in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. In March, another was shot and killed in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.  A principal and six school children died that month during an attack at their school in Karachi.

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Topics: Education • Women • Youth
Fewer child laborers is still too many
October 7th, 2013
10:11 AM ET

Fewer child laborers is still too many

By Jo Becker, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Jo Becker is the children’s rights advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. Follow her @jobeckerhrw. The views expressed are her own.

Every week, “Fumo” risks his life for a bag of rocks. At 13, he began working in a Tanzanian gold mine, climbing deep into unstable shafts that could collapse at any moment. He digs ore and hauls the heavy bags to the surface, where he crushes the ore to powder. To extract the gold, he uses mercury, a toxic substance that could leave him brain damaged. He says he knows it’s dangerous, but has no protective gear. After filling a sack weighing up to 110 pounds, he may end up with less than an ounce of gold.

Since 2000, the number of child laborers worldwide has dropped by one-third, from 248 million to 168 million, according to new statistics released by the International Labor Organization. While this progress is encouraging, the number of child laborers is still extraordinarily high. Of the global total, 85 million children, like Fumo, work in hazardous conditions that directly threaten their health and safety.

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Topics: Human Rights • Youth
Can world keep up with mobile young people?
August 12th, 2013
09:17 AM ET

Can world keep up with mobile young people?

By Nicole Goldin, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Nicole Goldin is director of the Youth, Prosperity, and Security Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., in partnership with the International Youth Foundation.  You can follow her @nicolegoldin @CSIS. The views expressed are her own.

Today’s young people are a geographically mobile generation – seeking better educational and employment opportunities and more affordable access to technology and markets. The U.N. Population Fund estimates that about 3 percent of the world’s population lives outside their country of origin, while UNICEF reports that nearly 35 million, or about 17 percent, of international migrants are between the ages of 10 and 24 years. It’s fitting therefore that this year’s International Youth Day, being marked Monday, has the official theme of “Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward.”

But with such mobility comes challenges. UNICEF says 21 percent of the total international migrant population between 10 and 24 years of age live in “less developed” countries. But even within this broader figure there are often significant differences, whether across gender lines, or geographically.

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Topics: Youth
July 2nd, 2013
09:32 AM ET

In praise of unpaid internships

By Michael Moroney, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Michael Moroney is the director of communications at the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity. The views expressed are the writer’s own.

Lawsuits are in vogue this summer as unpaid interns go after their former employers. HearstCondé Nast, and even Gawker are feeling the heat as disgruntled former interns take them to court.

As a recent graduate who used paid and unpaid internships to garner experience and help figure out a career path, I was taken aback by the recent slew of suits. When I was a rising sophomore I started my first unpaid internship at a government relations office Washington, DC. The experience gained and relationships made were worth far more to me than the paycheck I could have made at a normal summer job. My first internship served as a springboard to many other internships – paid and unpaid – that eventually led to the career path I'm on now. The diversity of the internships I completed helped shape my professional skill set and prepared me to compete in an over-saturated job market.

As our modern economy gets more challenging and complex, unpaid internships are an integral part of preparing for the current job market.

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Topics: Economy • Youth
How GOP can win back young voters
June 7th, 2013
07:35 AM ET

How GOP can win back young voters

By Alex Smith, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Alex Smith is the national chair of the College Republican National Committee. The views expressed are her own.

The Republican Party brand has become tarnished among young adults. Once the party of Reagan, who won the youth vote by 19 points in his reelection campaign, we’ve slowly lost our connection with the young. The GOP, which was once a proud reference to the “Grand Old Party,” has certainly lost some of its grandeur.

If recent elections are any indication, then perception has become reality. President Barack Obama won 5 million more votes than Gov. Mitt Romney among voters under the age of 30 in the 2012 presidential election. Despite Romney’s significant edge in other age groups, the youth vote proved decisive. Moreover, this was actually an improvement from 2008, when Obama won the youth vote by a 2-to-1 margin.

The Republican Party has won the youth vote before and can absolutely win it again. But it will take significant work to refine our message, and improve how and where we communicate.

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Topics: Politics • United States • Youth
December 12th, 2012
12:38 PM ET

Entrepreneurship key to engaging global youth

By Zeenat Rahman, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Zeenat Rahman serves as Special Adviser to the U.S Secretary of State for Global Youth Issues. You can follow her @zeenat. The views expressed are her own.

Young people are at the center of global events. This is not a platitude, but a fact, given that half of the world’s population is under the age of 30. We live in an era dubbed the age of human talent, and this human capital is a fundamental driver of economic development. But how can we best harness the talent of youth populations and create new pathways for progress? Entrepreneurship, defined by innovation, creativity, and economic advancement, is key to leveraging this talent and forging new paths as entrepreneurs and young people around the world share many of the same traits.

Emerging powers are increasingly putting economics at the center of their foreign policies, and with at least 75 million young people globally, if not more, seeking access to meaningful livelihoods, this demographic is an economic reality that policy makers cannot ignore. Instituting meaningful ways to engage the natural talents of young people, while also addressing the economic challenges this demographic faces, make entrepreneurship initiatives so critical to help solve global challenges.

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Topics: Youth
October 24th, 2012
10:56 AM ET

Pakistan on the cusp of change?

By CNN Global Public Square

For more “What in the World,” watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS" on Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET

Earlier this month, the Pakistani Taliban opened fire on a school bus. Two girls were shot. At first, it seemed a familiar story. The Taliban, after all, has bombed hundreds of schools, especially those for girls.

But here's what's new: Mass protests ensued against the Taliban, and in favor of women. That's startling and refreshing in Pakistan.

This past week, thousands of demonstrators thronged to the streets to protest the Taliban's brutality towards women. They're rallying around one person, 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai. Malala was one of the girls who was shot on that school bus. She was not an accidental target. The Taliban directly sought her out and shot her in the head. They wanted to kill not only Malala, but what she stood for. Here's why:

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Topics: Pakistan • Taliban • What in the World? • Women • Youth
The global youth unemployment crisis
March 9th, 2012
12:09 PM ET

The global youth unemployment crisis

Editor’s Note: This is an edited version of an article from the ‘Oxford Analytica Daily Brief’. Oxford Analytica is a global analysis and advisory firm that draws on a worldwide network of experts to advise its clients on their strategy and performance.

From the ‘Occupy’ phenomenon to last year’s ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings, young people have been at the forefront of recent social protest trends. There is nothing new in youth-led protest; but since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, youth unemployment levels have remained persistently high across the world. Especially in countries facing budget austerity, high youth unemployment levels could stoke significant social unrest.

In addition to stability questions, there’s the obvious economic impact: Young workers facing prolonged unemployment are at risk of years of low compensation once they eventually re-join the workforce. They are even at risk of permanent exclusion from job markets. FULL POST

Topics: Jobs • Youth
Millennials paralyzed by choice
A crowd at the interactive festival at the Austin Convention Center from the 2010 South by Southwest Conference held in Austin, Texas.
March 8th, 2012
06:30 PM ET

Millennials paralyzed by choice

Editor’s Note: Priya Parker, an expert-in-residence at the Harvard Innovation Lab, is the founder of Thrive Labs, a visioning and strategy advisory firm based in Brooklyn, New York. You can follow Priya on Twitter  @priyaparker.

By Priya Parker – Special to CNN

If January is when the old guard gathers in Davos, Switzerland, March is when the new guard descends on Austin, Texas. At a time of crisis in America, Europe, the Middle East and beyond, a group of tech-savvy do-gooders meets, greets and tweets at South By Southwest.

The conference has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years, exploring questions well beyond the sphere of technology. The several hundred panels and featured sessions for this year’s SXSW Interactive tend to reflect the current concerns of the rising elite. In this post, I’d like to add one concern to their list: Can the avid, accomplished doers at SXSW show the way for a rising generation of Millennials who are all too often afraid to fulfill their potential as leaders? FULL POST

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Topics: Innovation • Technology • Youth
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