In a world where we see our leaders becoming increasingly divisive and misleading, the stage for youth leadership has been set. Our current political climate often silences the voices of children, and youth who speak out are branded as inexperienced and unknowledgeable. This diminishes the power of young voices and obscures the fact that these are our future leaders.
The rise in social media and information sharing has enabled us to be more aware of people and events across the globe. It has created a platform for the public to speak up, allowing anyone to become political activists with a message to share.
This new wave of activists rising from social media are the future leaders of tomorrow. Recently, the world saw 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg speak at the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which took place from Dec. 2–14 in Poland.
Thunberg spoke to global leaders and called for them to be accountable saying, “You are not mature enough to tell it like it is, even that burden you leave to us children…You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”
This powerful statement made by the Thunberg reflects how youth around the world feel as though our leaders and officials are not taking their concerns or their futures seriously. Greta Thunberg is an example of how young people are beginning to take action and speak out about issues that concern them — when other leaders even fail to do so.
Another example of a young activist who is taking the world by storm is Bana Alabed, an 8 year old Syrian refugee. She documented her experiences of living in war torn Syria on Twitter and in 2017 she released her book, “Dear World: A Syrian Girl’s Story of War and Plea for Peace.” Alabed reminds us that even the smallest positive change and action can better our world.
As more young people begin to take interest in social and political issues, we see how important youth leadership is in spreading awareness and carving out our future. Youth leaders have the unique advantage to reach their peers and get a generation excited about building better communities, fighting injustice and solving challenging problems.
As our current leaders argue and remain complacent with inaction, our future leaders are able to reach wider audiences and illicit a strong call for change. It is important for our world to have youth activism as it prepares the next generation of leaders and inspires a call for positive change and action. After all, the youth represents our future.