"Youth Can Move the World Event" in Canada
On February 23, 2008, SGI-Canada youth representatives participated in the "Youth Can Move the World" symposium at the HJA Brown Education Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. Around 300 people joined the event, which was open to students aged 15-25 from the Regional Municipality of Peel. Inspired by the United Nations' declaration of 2005-2014 as the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, "Youth Can Move the World" is a symposium where youth learn about how to become involved in their community through grassroots activities with local organizations focusing on creating a world that is socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.
SGI-Canada's participation included the Seeds of Change exhibit and a presentation including the video "A Quiet Revolution" and a discussion. Ten SGI-Canada youth presented the key elements of how each person can make a difference locally by transforming their way of thinking. The youth members focused on three points SGI President Daisaku Ikeda emphasized in his proposal in support of the UN Decade: to learn, to reflect and to empower.
The youth members engaged the audience in a discussion on these points, generating suggestions about how to take action on an individual level. One student pointed out, "Each of the individuals in the video thought of themselves as a member of their community--they were not only thinking of themselves. As a result, not only did the individual transform but the community did so too."
Youth Can Move the World was conceived by community volunteers, representatives of Peel social agencies and members of the multifaith community who recognized the need to bring the messages about a sustainable world to youth in Peel. In 2007, Youth Can Move the World received an Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) grant to support the Symposium in 2008 and 2009.
Partners included Rapport Youth and Family Services, the Peel District School Board and Sheridan College. In total, over 20 local organizations were involved, including Free the Children, Leaders Today, ACCESS Charity (Allowing Children a Chance at Education with School Supplies), the African Community Services of Peel, the Environmental Youth Alliance and the Canadian Student Institute for Community Builders.
[Adapted from Issue 30 of SGI Canada News dated March 2008, SGI-Canada; photo courtesy of SGI-Canada]