As part of activities globally by organizations and governments to mark the International Youth Day, the Webster University Ghana Campus in collaboration with Rainbow Innovations hosted some of the most recognized youth networks in Ghana at a youth forum held on Thursday, August 9, 2018, at Webster University Ghana Campus located in East Legon.
The program had youth representatives from organizations such as the Young African Leadership Initiative, Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurs Ghana (TEF Ghana), Junior Chamber International Ghana (JCI Ghana), Impact Ghana Agenda and 25 youth-led NGOs and enterprises to commemorate this august occasion under the theme Safe Spaces for the Youth.
In a welcome address, the Campus Director for Webster University, Ms. Christa Sanders, stated that it was an honor for the University to host the emerging leaders of the country on such a day that was celebrating the largest age bracket of Africa’s population on its prestigious American university campus. She further entreated the delegates present to step up efforts in leading the change process of seeing development in Ghana and Africa.
In subsequent submissions by the Enrolment Director, Mrs. Martha Amankwah Quainoo, she further reiterated the strong position Webster University Ghana Campus holds in developing the world’s youth into becoming global citizens and the opportunities of study it offers. Also, the Head of International Relations Department, Dr. Agnes Khoo-Dzisi, addressed the cross-cultural perspective of what safe spaces mean to youth globally.
Mr. Prince Bonney; President of the JCI Ghana, Lambert Donkor; Impact Ghana Agenda, Richmond Perkins Asante; representative of the 2018 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurs & the KBI Community and Mohammed Babangida; the Sustainability Director of YALI Alumni Ghana, all expressed the delight of their youth fraternity in Ghana to participate in the event. In their goodwill messages, they re-echoed the need for the youth to lead the creation of safe spaces in all facets of development and contribute to the achievement of the current Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's).
Also, in a panel discussion on the theme, Stephen Selasie Asuo, an SDG's Consultant, TEF 2018 Fellow, and YALI Fellow moderated the discussion. Other panelists included the Executive Director of Centre for Active Citizenship & Leadership; Priscilla Oware, the CEO of Lead Initiative & the Africa Development Partners Awards; Kenneth Mills, Zongo Youth for Change; Zakiyu Iddris Tindannayil, Co-Founder of Coliba, TEF 2018 Fellow and YALI Fellow; Prince Kwame Agbata, Impact Ghana Agenda; Bediako Asare of Impact Ghana and the Great Thinkers Club, and Ritabella Esionam, Executive Director of the No-Limits Organisation.
They made vital statements on the need for partnership, research, networking, humility, respect, productivity and patriotism as the key ingredients for the youth to create safe spaces for themselves yielding employment, entrepreneurship and youth civic action nationwide and beyond. They collectively called on the government to do more by granting the youth more space to play their roles as agents of development and not only as beneficiaries of government intervention.
In a closing remark by Dr. Ghandi Ato Pele, he stated his outermost joy at seeing young personalities striving to make an impact in the country. The Director for Rally for the SD Goals also stated that it was time African youth take up their destinies into their hands instead of totally relying on governments to solve the present societal challenges. He took the opportunity to share some few entrepreneurship and leadership privileges that the SDGs presents to youth in Africa and beyond.
This year’s International Youth Day 2018 is under the theme Safe Spaces for Youth. And the United Nations said “Youth need safe spaces where they can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision-making processes and freely express themselves. While there are many types of spaces, safe spaces ensure the dignity and safety of youth.
Safe spaces such as civic spaces enable youth to engage in governance issues; public spaces afford youth the opportunity to participate in sports and other leisure activities in the community; digital spaces help youth interact virtually across borders with everyone; and well planned physical spaces can help accommodate the needs of diverse youth especially those vulnerable to marginalization or violence.”