By: Josh Mazur, Canadian National Delegate for CYF
It’s the second day of the Commonwealth Youth Forum here in Malta and the energy in the room is anything but static. Youth have flown from across the Commonwealth to this small island nation in the Mediterranean to discuss issues from the radicalization of youth toward violent extremism to climate change and social entrepreneurship. The 1.2 billion youth in Commonwealth states deserve a radical change in the way politicians and industry leaders alike tackle the problems we face and the CYF is taking steps toward ensuring our voices are heard.
Yesterday morning was spent hearing from the Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat and the Commonwealth Secretary General H. E. Kamalesh Sharma. Then, national delegates headed to into a General Assembly to hear reports from the Commonwealth Youth Council. As Canadian National Youth Delegates Aden Hamza and myself spoke up to ensure the accountability and transparency Canadians have come to expect and the Commonwealth youth deserve.
I have consistently found that not only had Aden and myself made sure Canadian voices are heard, but the work of our observers Nick, Aniqah, Brody, and Rasha have been some of the loudest voices here. The multilateral and soft power concepts the Commonwealth relies on so heavily benefit infinitely from stellar Canadian participation. As a mosaic of diversity, Canadians HAVE to speak up on the international stage and encourage pluralism and integration around the world.
On a more personal note, I have spent the last few days building networks and advancing my leadership skills, but, more importantly, forming friendships that are good for far more than a place to rest my head as I travel the world. These are people I will continue to connect with for the rest of my life. The amazingly kind and open-minded participants at these conferences are so rarely focused on and are very much the best component. Our differences are all too often emphasized for political benefit or to justify bigoted perceptions of the world, but young people in our globalized age prove these perceptions could not be more wrong time and time again.