Science at the UNESCO Youth Forum


Science, Technology and Innovation for Social Inclusion, Civic Engagement, Dialogue and Skills Development at the UNESCO Youth Forum

The theme of the 8th UNESCO Youth Forum is “Youth and Social Inclusion: Civic Engagement, Dialogue and Skills Development” and it will be held from 29 to 31 October 2013 at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris. The forum gathers about 500 young women and men from around the world to exchange views, share experiences and identify solutions to the challenges they face.

Science, Technology and Innovation are important pillars for social inclusion and can be used to promote dialogue and skills among the youth. This year’s Youth Forum will feature practical ways in which STI provides a number of new and emerging career, skills and entrepreneurial opportunities for the youth and equips young people with the skills necessary to be leaders, innovators and good citizens. Two capacity building sessions on natural science related issues will be organized; a) ‘Water cooperation: it’s your turn’ and, b) ‘Engineering in Action for Youth and young women; Hands-on Experiments in Engineering’. The importance of STI in facilitation social inclusion and dialogue was also reinforced by the STI related questions included in the online discussion. A number of Young Scientists and Innovators networks such as WFEO Youth Forum and South African Women in Engineering were mobilized to participate in the online discussion, register as observers and/or have stands to publicize their work at the forums. The Science Sector also recommended over 20 young scientists and innovators as possible speakers for the ‘15 minutes feature’ of which 5 youth innovators were selected to speak. Additionally, the science sector will have a stand at the ‘marketplace’ at the Forum which will display items about UNESCO’s work in the Natural Sciences.

Water cooperation: it’s your turn!- An interactive session to learn about water issues and careers in water fields, 29 October 2013, 14:30 - 17:30, Room XI

This capacity building session aims to reinforce the water-related capacities of youth by exploring the main issues affecting freshwater resources and the role of youth in resolving current and future challenges through cooperation. The session is organized within the context of the International Year of Water Cooperation and will focus on the skills needed for cooperation and professional opportunities for young people in the field of freshwater. The session will be facilitated by young professionals from different backgrounds who will share their experience and engage the participants in an interactive way. Youth from high schools will also share their experiences in water cooperation. The session includes practical exercises which focus on the development of skills in water cooperation.

Engineering in Action for Youth and young women; Hands-on Experiments in Engineering, October 30, 2013, 10am-12pm, Room VI

This session is organized in partnership with EWB UK, the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) Youth Committee and SAWomeEng. It will be open to young women, and young men, who wish to participate in fun, hands-on engineering activities that will involve group work as well as building models and scenarios that influence life and choices of today. The workshop will involve activities like building a bridge, discussing fracking and solving a problem currently faced as well as other hands-on tasks. There will also be an open discussion on the involvement and role that youth particularly, young women play in the future of Science and Engineering with a view of getting ideas about how we can get more youth interested in careers in Science and Engineering. A part of the session will also be used to show the EPCA film “Science: Where can it take you” after which, participants can discuss issues explored in the film and propose solutions to address them. A film by Intel on girls in science will also be screened.

The importance of technical skills for engineering cannot be argued, but often, softer skills such as presentation and pitching ideas and new concepts are often neglected, but an important part of the skills sets of engineers. A session on personal development and creating an elevator pitch for new ideas will be hosted to complement the technical nature of the workshop. The session will be facilitated by Emma Thompson, Engineers Without Borders UK (EWB UK) and Zainab Larabi, World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) Youth Committee Chair.