ACP YPN at European Youth Forum COMEM

On 27-28 April, ACP YPN was invited as a guest organisation to attend the European Youth Forum’s Council of Members (COMEM) in Brussels. Arnaud Szanto, ACP YPN Expert represented the Network to more than 100 youth organisations (National Youth Councils and International Non-Governmental Youth Organisations) and engaged with them on the following topics: future of youth rights, social and economic inclusion, democratic participation and sustainable development in the European Union.


Photo: Arnaud Szanto (ACP YPN), Luis Alvarado Martinez (EYF) and Christopher Fürst (JCI)

Luis Alvarado Martinez (President, EYF) delivered a speech on the “State of Youth in Europe” in which he presented the progress made in the struggle for social justice through the adoption of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR). He also discussed populism as a threat to the next EU election, youth unemployment and migration among other pressing issues. He emphasized the prominence for youth organisations to support the “Erasmus+ x10” campaign which advocates for an increase of the programme’s budget by 10 for the new multiannual financial framework (MFF) post-2020. ACP YPN is fully supporting this “Erasmus+ x10” campaign as we believe having an ambitious Erasmus + programme goes hand in hand with bringing together youth groups coming from various backgrounds. In this way, we reaffirm our commitment to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all as part of the Sustainable Development Goal 4.

Arnaud participated in a workshop organised by ATD Fourth World Movement“Do you want to know about stories of change?” and raised 5 key recommendations on the subject of inequalities in accessing quality education:

1. Promote a holistic approach to address systemic issues that marginalised groups are facing in getting access to quality education.
2. Enhance non-educational programs aiming at empowering young people to help them create new narratives that go beyond the structural problems they are facing.
3. Strengthen ongoing advocacy efforts for more inclusive and comprehensive education policies at the national and international level
4. Support education systems and curricula to foster self-awareness and tolerance while promoting equality of opportunities, which values diversity (ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability and religious) and cultural heritages in order to combat social ostracisation.
5. Bridge communication gaps between groups to prevent marginalized youth – especially those in a situation of ‘learned helplessness’ – from not having access to quality education in order to unlock young people’s future opportunities.

Arnaud has also met with Anna Widegren (Secretary General, EYF) to talk about the challenges facing small organisations such as access to funding and the underrepresentation of youth coming from the diaspora in relevant debate at the EU level. He expressed that he was truly inspired by the stories of young leaders advocating for policy change and stated :

“I am feeling optimistic about the future of our Youth. I’ve had the chance to talk with leaders that are fighting ruthlessly to make sure no one is left behind. As long as we keep working together, I have not an ounce of doubt in my mind, that we can make Europe’s future, brighter for young people regardless of their race, age, sexual orientation, religion or disability.”


Photo: COMEM group picture for Erasmus+ x10 Campaign, 2018

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ACP YPN at YABS Network Conference 2018

On 21 April, Aïssatou Touré, ACP YPN Public Policy Advisor took part as a keynote speaker in “Hunger for Success Conference 2018” organised by the YABS Network as its 3rd Annual Conference.

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It is under this year’s theme “Challenging the notion of Success in the African Community- What is Success? What is Failure?” that the YABS Network reunited several speakers including H.E. Mrs. Novisi Abaidoo, Ambassador of Ghana in Belgium; Annelies Decat from Unia; Krystel Sil Sikana, founder & CEO of HiSHi;  Cynthia Mukendy, social entrepreneur; Nadia Aime, Digital Mompreneur.

Aïssatou began by welcoming the initiative of such event aiming at connecting and empowering the African Diaspora Youth and congratulated the previous speakers for encouraging the audience to act for what they believe in despite all the obstacles.

She explained how a youth-led platform such as ACP YPN –  aiming at playing an active role in policy-making processes and ensuring that all young professionals can become active and capable world-changing citizens – helped her become more successful in achieving her professional and personal projects. Indeed, she exemplified how ACP YPN trusted her expertise and gave her two great opportunities :

  1. She was involved in high – level political dialogue including the Africa – EU Civil Society Forum that took place in July 2017 in Tunis. She noted that youth organisations were under-represented – only 5 out of 80 civil society representatives were youth delegates – although the main theme of the Forum was on ‘youth’ . For Aïssatou, this experience emphasized the great need to include youth perspectives in policy dialogue.
  2. In October 2017, she was one of 36 youth chosen across the European Union (EU) and African Union (AU) to represent youth in the first ever AU-EU Youth PlugIn Initiave.  Over 5 weeks, they were tasked with developing a framework for youth policy on 6 different topics, which led to the publication of the Youth Agenda that was delivered to the Heads of States at the 5th African Union- European Union Summit.

These wonderful experiences allowed her to develop new skills such as policy writing, public speaking while confronting her to development cooperation’s main challenges. Most of all, such opportunities help create spaces for new ideas and projects which are essential to integrate African youth perspectives into the future development endeavours on the African continent.

Aïssatou concluded her speech with these words:

“Young people have so much potential, especially those from Africa and the diaspora. If opportunities are not there, let’s create our own and make our voices heard”.


By Aïssatou Touré – Get in touch with Aïssatou on LinkedIn Twitter.

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ACP YPN-CYC-CRYC MoUs at CHOGM 2018, London

On 16-18 April, on the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2018 held in London, ACP YPN’s Director and Founder Yentyl Williams, signed two MoUs to strengthen international youth cooperation with the Commonwealth Youth Council represented by Ms. Abena Dugan, CYC’s newly elected Vice Chairperson, Partnership and Resources; and with the Caribbean Regional Youth Council (CRYC) represented by their Chairperson, Mr. Shaquille Knowles.

About: The Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) is the official representative voice of the more than 1.2 billion young people in the Commonwealth. The CYC was first established in 2013 with the support of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Commonwealth Youth Programme. It was endorsed by Commonwealth Heads of Government at their biennial summit in Sri Lanka as an “autonomous, youth-led” organisation. Led by a nine-member executive, the CYC acts as a coalition of national youth councils and other youth-led civil society and private sector bodies from across the 53 member countries of the Commonwealth. It aims to further advance the youth development agenda by integrating young people into the development work of the Commonwealth at national, regional, and Pan-Commonwealth levels. It also provides a sustainable platform for unified engagement with decision makers and youth-led development initiatives. The current CYC chairperson, elected in April 2018, is Tijani Christian, from Jamaica.

About: The Caribbean Regional Youth Council (CRYC) is the collective voice of National Youth Councils and represents the voice of youth for the Caribbean. It was established at the ‘3rd Caribbean Youth Leaders’ Summit’ in 2013 with the inaugural Executive Board elected. It is supported by the Youth Division of The Commonwealth Secretariat. The CRYC has a number of strategic directions, including youth participation, representation, youth rights, and youth work.

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ACP YPN leads 1st Regional Youth Forum, ACP-EU JPA, Nairobi

On 10th April 2018, ACP YPN organised the 1st Regional Youth Forum of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) Regional Meeting in partnership with the Kenyan Young Parliamentarians Association (KYPA), the East African Legislative Assembly, the Commonwealth Youth Council, the COLEACP, the European Youth Forum, the Hoja Youth Summit at the United States International University (USIU), Nairobi on the sidelines of the 15th Regional Meeting of the JPA, 11-13 April 2018. The declaration is available in English & French.

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The Forum began with opening remarks from Dr. Fatuma Ahmed Ali, Director of Programs-International Relations, USIU-Africa; Yentyl Williams, Director & Founder, ACP YPN and the keynote speech from Senator Mercy Chebeni.

The first panel was on “The role of youth in economic transformation” and featured a keynote opening speech from Hon. Kennedy Musyoka, East African Legislative Assembly. The panellists included Nancie Amunga, Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs & CEO, Dana Communication; Lucy Mbaye, Youth SACCO & Kenyan Private Sector Alliance; Eddy Musoke Daniel, Coordinator, Hoja Youth Summit and Yentyl Williams, Director & Founder, ACP YPN. The event was moderated by Antony Buluma, Director, KYPA & George Stanley Njoroge, Coordinator, Commonwealth Students Association & Editorial Advisory Board, Parliamentarian Journal.

The second part of the Forum was a breakout session whereby the Youth divided themselves in six groups to discuss and draw up three recommendations on the Agenda of the 15th Regional Meeting, on six topics:

  1. Regional integration and cooperation
    • State of play of regional and inter-regional cooperation
    • Regional cooperation with regard to security and its consequences on migration
  2. Trade, investment promotion and private sector development
  3. Energy and infrastructure needs
  4. Tourism and wildlife management – progress, prospects and challenges
  5. Agriculture and food security
  6. ACP-EU relations Post-Cotonou

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The press release is available here & the photo album hereSee more via #ACPYouthTalk

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ACP YPN on CFTA at USIU, Kenya

On 5th April 2018, Yentyl Williams was invited to speak at the United States’ International University (USIU) – Kenya, Student’s conference on the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) and its implication for African economies. The event, entitled, New Africa, the Kigali Declaration and Free Trade Area (FTA),  the Future of Africa was organised by the Hoja Youth Summit under the patronage of Dr. Fatuma Ahmed Ali, Director of Programs, International Relations, USIU.

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Yentyl shared the ground-breaking work of ACP YPN on getting young professionals a formal place at the Consultative Committee to monitor the EU’s new generation of Free Trade Agreements, in particular with the Caribbean. She used this as an example to underline that young people can monitor the implementation of trade agreements, and more over, their role can be formalised in this process.

Yentyl also underlined the importance of strong intra and inter-regional trade to overcome the dialectic of underdevelopment and development between the global South and the global North respectively, which Walter Rodney had underlined in his thesis, ‘How Europe under-developed Africa’.

In general, the students were interested and optimistic about the role of trade and the impact on their lives, locally, nationally and regionally.

Access Yentyl Williams’ trade publications here & the video intervention here. See more via #ACPYouthTalk

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