The 2021 Global Youth Trends Forum, organized by the Ministry of Education’s Youth Development Administration （YDA）, is a series of events that will bring together young people from 28 nations and five continents to discuss global developments under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first forum kicked off today （Saturday） both physically in Kaohsiung and online, giving youth outside Taiwan the opportunity to participate remotely.
The theme this year is “The Impact of Covid-19 on Global Youth.” The YDA has invited local young people and foreign youth in Taiwan to discuss how the pandemic has affected youth issues such as education and learning, social innovation and employment, and mental health.
Chen Hsuch-Yu, Director General of the Youth Development Administration, stated that this year’s forum provided livestreaming in addition to having youths both Taiwanese and foreign to discuss how the pandemic has affected them. The forum, during this pandemic, has created more opportunities for exchanges for youths across the world, transcending borders and creating positive momentum for the society.
An international panel of four speakers, including former vice president and Academia Sinica academician Chen Chien-Jen, gave their expert opinions. Chen shared that since the pandemic broke out, early development, transparency, and solidarity have helped Taiwan to endure only the lowest COVID mortality rate while enjoying positive GDP growth. International collaboration is also the key to the containment and prevention of the pandemic.
The other panelists were Liu Kwangyin, Commonwealth Magazine English website editor, Meg Zeenat Wamithi, ambassador at One Young World and founder of MindMapper UK, and Jan Owen, founder of Learning Creates Australia and former CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians.
Owen, who was previously named a Westpac Woman of Influence and awarded the Order of Australia, she also pointed out that youths should utilize their digital advantages, enhance their critical thinking and become more inclusive to contribute to the society and become a true global citizen.
Wamithi, who was named a top 10 Rare Rising Star and has won the Diana Award, shared her experiences battling mental illnesses. She talked about how young people tend to be more anxious and stressed during the pandemic, particular those between 19 to 24. She also shared her rich experience in hosting multiple seminars and online discussions to encourage young people to open up new horizons and make changes to the society.
Liu also shared that at the height of the pandemic, as many as 139 countries shut down schools and online learning as well as work from home have become the new normal. As the result, businesses started contemplating digital transformation while new industries and positions have sprouted up. She also encouraged the youth that the future will only be brighter and the pandemic will only make us stronger.
In addition to renowned youth experts, the forum was moderated by Catherine Lu and Howard Chien, hosts of the Morning Taiwan Glocal News podcast. The presenters lead the discussion on the impact of the pandemic in different countries and the resulting challenges young people face.
Participant Loo Yen Chi, a Malaysian student pursuing a doctorate degree in Taiwan, talked about the White Flag Campaign initiated by Malaysians, which encouraged people in need to place a white flag at their door. The campaign inspired young Malaysians and saved many people. Tapsoba Achille Wendyam from Burkina Faso stated that the pandemic is not just a global pandemic. It has cast light and drawn attention to major issues outside the pandemic.
By discussing international trends and sharing experiences of different countries, the forum was able to transcend borders, galvanize youth power, create drivers for social innovation, and help young people transform the impact of the pandemic into strength to face future challenges. The next forum will be held on November 13 in Taipei with the livestream starting at 10:10 in the morning （UTC+8）, with a new lineup of expert panelists and international youth. See the forum website （iyouth.youthhub.tw/gytf2021/） and Facebook Page （fb.com/globalyouthtrendsforum） for updates.