The Dialogues with the Ethnic Youths on the Occasion of the International Youth Day 2021
One-third of the world’s population are children and youth. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which many countries in the world are committed to achieving by 2030 or only ten years from now, might not be attained if we do not include the youth, who will become the majority of the future population.
Even though we can achieve all 17 SDGs, does it mean that sustainable development is realized? The answer can be yes or no because the core of sustainable development is not just a matter of what, but how is also crucial for achieving sustainable development. More importantly, we should question the development process whether it is inclusive and leads to beneficial results for all. Does our development leave anyone behind? Leave No One Behind is, therefore, the heart of sustainable development.
Who is left behind? We may think of people who live in remote areas, with limited access to infrastructure or stateless people who do not have access to basic welfare. We may also picture disabled people with limited access to transportation, education opportunities, and proper education equipment or methods, or poor people in the cities who lack economic opportunity, or even LGBTQ persons who are deprived of opportunities to take certain roles in society. And the list goes on. Why are they forgotten in the development?
They are deprived of these opportunities because of their identities, such as ethnicity, gender, age, body, place of residence, etc. These are the things that hinder access to equal opportunities. Everybody has these identities. However, have we ever considered these factors in terms of how they affect our everyday life?
The Online Youth Dialogue on Leave No One Behind activity consists of four dialogues that invited young people to become acquainted with vulnerable groups often left behind based on their identities. There are four dialogues: the dialogue with the ethnic youth, the dialogue with the youth from coastal communities, the dialogue with the LGBTQ youth, and the dialogue with the youth with disabilities. This activity is based on the belief that a space for discussion or a place where we get to know each other, make friends, and ask questions to understand each other’s lifestyles, identities, and needs, is the beginning of an inclusive society.
A relaxing discussion group for young people is a space to reflect on how our identities can impact our everyday life, shine the light on one’s vulnerabilities and those of others, and embrace diversity in a society where everybody respects one another.
On the occasion of the International Youth Day 2021, below is a part of the Dialogues with Ethnic Youths which narrates the untold stories of the ethnic youth.