BEING THE OPENING ADDRESS DELIVERED BY ADETUNJI ADENIRAN, CEO, YNAG AT THE GLOBAL CONFERENCE, CULTIVATING YOUTH ACTIVISM: A GLOBAL CONVERSATION IN A TIME OF DEMOCRATIC CRISIS ORGANIZED BY SNF AGORA INSTITUTE, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY IN COLLABORATION WITH GENERATION CITIZEN, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
Two years ago, Generation Citizen (GC) led by Scott Warren put out a post seeking a reputable organization in Africa that could collaborate on a global project for youths.
As a reputable organization, YNAG applied and after series of reviews and voting, we won the challenge and became a strategic partner for Global Network for Youth Action, a coalition of more than 20 civil society organizations across the globe.
We want to thank Scott and his team at GC for the opportunity and belief they have in YNAG.
Similarly, it is indeed our pleasure to have worked alongside Hahrie Han of SNF Agora Institute at John Hopkins University to bring to life this important conference that will examine the relevance of young people in the world’s democratic process pre and post pandemic.
YNAG, acronym for Young Nigerians and Governance, was established on the premise of achieving a balanced democratic process by encouraging active participation of Nigerian youths in our political and governance terrain. As you well know, democracy is still at young stage in Nigeria compared to other climes such as the United States or the United Kingdom, therefore, we saw the need to actively teach young Nigerians (age 17-35 years) action-based civic education by starting series of conversations via conferences, essay competitions, radio and television advocacy programs.
In Nigeria, our democracy still lacks institutionalized reforms and processes. Power is still vested in individuals rather institutions and because of the presidential system of governance that we practice, too much authority is placed at the federal level. What this means is that good governance is hardly felt at the grassroot, which is closest to the people.
The state and local governments are mere puppets of whichever party is in power at the center.
YNAG, as an organized platform for governance related conversations and policy programs in the country has designed action-based advocacy programs to bring these issues to limelight. We have annual conference that holds every December which brings together policy makers, government top officials and the Nigerian people to discuss on burning topics. Furthermore, we have radio and television programs that feature discussions on how Nigeria can actualize her dream of a truly democratized society.
This two-day global conference is in line with our vision at YNAG and we are happy that SNF Institute at Johns Hopkins and Generation Citizen are putting this together. An interesting conversation in this forum would be how youth organizations across the globe are carrying out their activities in the face of COVID-19 and proposed new ways of working together post-COVID-19.
On behalf of the planning team and YNAG, I welcome you and wish you a successful deliberation.
About the conference
The virtual conference will connect youth activists with civics practitioners and scholars from around the world in order to discuss the best practices of youth advocacy and challenges facing democracy in the current moment. Bringing together stakeholders from all corners of the world, including Thailand, India, South Sudan, Paraguay, and more, these two days will foster connections between disparate movements, inspire greater efficacy in the global fight for democracy and justice, and set the stage for future collaboration and conversations.
Presented by the SNF Agora Institute with support from the Global Network for Youth Action.