Today's youth defy the critics

Some people have got it into their heads that youth activism is on the decline and the days of the young changing the world have passed.Over the last few days I’ve witnessed first hand what complete nonsense that is.Yesterday I was at a student media event at the University of London Union. There were 115 delegates there and all of them were buzzing with enthusiasm. These were people gripped by the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, fascinated by feedback from the China Olympics and determined to get involved.And this weekend will be another high-water mark as students from across the UK flock to our student conference at Reading University, where they will get the chance to put their questions to the likes of Alan Johnston, Mark Thomas and our very own Director Kate Allen. It’s not too late to sign up. You can do so by following this link.But it’s not just the over-18s. Later this year will see the celebrations of “Our Rights” – Amnesty’s own way of celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in schools.We’ve produced a menu of activities for them to use between now and the actual anniversary on 10 December and so far well over 90 percent of secondary schools across the UK have signed up to take the “Our Rights” education pack. Also on offer to schools is our new Everybody film, which The Guardian has on their website. Then there’s the children’s illustration book We Are All Born Free, which has been translated into dozens of languages across the world and puts the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into a modern context. That was profiled on Radio 4’s Learning Curve yesterday evening.Meanwhile, the number of Amnesty youth groups here in the UK is now around the 550 mark and we have a presence in nearly every university in the country – all of whom play key parts in our campaigns.If youth activism is supposed to be in decline, then someone clearly isn’t telling today’s young people.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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