The many demands of modern society can sometimes make tomorrow feel distant. Future challenges like climate change and global pandemics can be hard to adequately prepare for in the face of so much change and uncertainty in the political landscape.
And yet every day--youth are rising up to take on the challenges of tomorrow. They know the world they are inheriting is filled with complex problems that will require a more nuanced and global approach. And they are eager to collaborate with their international peers to work together on finding innovative solutions.
The Pan Africa Youth Leadership Program (PAYLP) is one of many international visitor programs that is preparing global youth with the tools to effectively participate in 21st century diplomacy.
Through out their two week stay in Portland, the PAYLP students participated in capacity building exercises to develop skills such as public speaking, powerpoint presentations, and implementing action plans. These presentations encouraged students to step out of their comfort zone and share their ideas, cultures, and experiences with various topics.
Many of the PAYLP activities were centered around local Portland high schools. At Jefferson High School the PAYLP groups presented information about their home countries of Kenya, Mozambique, Sudan, and the Gambia to raise awareness about the diversity of African cultures. Many students at Jefferson High School come from families who have recently immigrated to the U.S.--making the topic of identity, heritage, and belonging particularly enlightening.
At Lincoln High School PAYLP students had the opportunity to shadow their peers in various classes including chemistry, french, math, and sociology. These classes helped to break down barriers, build confidence, and show these young leaders how to communicate cross-culturally.
In addition to their student counterparts, the Pan Africa Youth Leadership Group was also able to meet with community partners throughout Oregon to expand their professional networks. Some of these visits included the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization-Africa House, the Multnomah Youth Commission, Momentum Alliance, Medical Teams International, and many more. These visits empowered visitors with tools and best practices for how to spread awareness, build partnerships, solicit funding, and work with local governments to enact change in their African home countries.
International youth visitors that come to Oregon today are the the future leaders of tomorrow. They are changing what it means to build a glocal community in the 21st century through peer-to-peer diplomacy. This year, WorldOregon is proud to center our programming on the next generation of global leaders and how we can encourage cross-cultural dialogue, collaboration, and solidarity to create a more peaceful world at home and abroad.