Statement on the Manchester Terror Attack

Statement on the Manchester Terror Attack

We send our thoughts and love to all those who lost friends and family members on behalf of the young people leading on the European Commission’s Youth Empowerment and Innovation Project (YEIP) and the IARS Institute’s youth-led 99% Campaign. We, wholeheartedly condemn this evil attack on our children, young people and innocent citizens. We take the opportunity to remind all those in power that 99.99% of young people are leading successful and inspiring lives. Our evidence indicates that young people feel that they are living in a society with a democratic deficit perpetuated by economic downturn, fear of security and continuous marginalisation of selected communities. The role of civil society, which has long been underestimated, is now more vital than ever. It is our responsibility to stand strong and equip our youth with knowledge and skills that will enable them to fight fear, isolation, discrimination and the factors that lead to radicalisation and the loss of more innocent lives. This can only happen if we relinquish power to our youth and let them construct their own resilient, cohesive and inclusive societies. Based on this youth-led philosophy and through YEIP, we call out to young people to join us in our efforts to create a youth-led, pan- European strategy to prevent violent radicalization and marginalisation.   Theo Gavrielides IARS Institute Founder & Director YEIP Coordinator...
Young BAME Voices in the UK General Elections

Young BAME Voices in the UK General Elections

Written by: Chioma Ruche (22) Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap general election to take place on 8 June since then 930,000 people have applied to register to vote. Of these, more than 390,000 were aged under 25 – 42% of the total. On the day the election was called 57,987 people under 25 registered to vote – more than any other age group. Young people from BAME groups are often isolated from mainstream politics and feel like nothing will change whoever they vote for. Who can we rely on to keep our best interests at heart? For many of us we have become disillusioned with the policies and practices of our politicians, and as the general election gets underway our uncertainty is ever growing.  We are living in a time where populism dominates political discourse and in the wake of Brexit hate speech seems to be on the rise. How can young people, especially those from ethnic minorities feel that their voices are heard and that they are valued? It is by voting that gives you the chance to inform politicians what values are important to you and what you would like to see them do. Voting ensures that you have a say in issues that really resonate with you. As a young BAME person who voted in the referendum and not seeing the result I wanted, I would like to see what the main political parties are going to do for people like me to ensure that my needs are still addressed. So what are the main concerns of Young BAME groups in particular? As reiterated in...
Open Letter to the leaders of the main political parties

Open Letter to the leaders of the main political parties

Dear Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Farron, Nicola Sturgeon, Paul Nuttall, Jonathan Bartley, Leanne Wood, Caroline Lucas, On behalf of the young people of the IARS International Institute’s Youth Advisory Board and the 99% Campaign, I submit the 99% Campaign Young People’s Manifesto.   With the General Election fast approaching, we are calling on you to take this pivotal moment to engage young people and ensure their voices are heard.  Brexit signalled a significant absence of young people at the polls, many of whom are dissatisfied and have lost their trust in the political system. The decisions taken by the next government will spell out the UK’s departure from the EU as well as future policies, legislation and practices. Such policies will be felt most keenly by young people as they just begin to embark on their adult lives. True democracy is predicated on the idea that every individual, irrespective of their background or personal circumstances, should have an equal opportunity to have a say in decisions about their country’s future and formation of policies, legislation and practices that affect them. The 99% Campaign was set up in 2010 as a youth led initiative to empower young people from all walks of life to engage with civic life and our charity is proud to have supported it since it’s inception. I hope that you will do the same. We know that in reality, some groups of young people are less likely than others to exercise their democratic right to vote; less likely to attain elected office; less likely to feel they can influence decisions in their local area; and...
An Erasmus+ Experience

An Erasmus+ Experience

Last week I joined the “Abused No More:Safeguarding Youth and Empowering Professionals” six day training event in London. It brought together partners from across Europe from Cyprus, Romania, Italy, Poland and the UK. What followed was an engaging week of lively debate, sharing ideas and best practice. This Erasmus project aims to empower young people and professionals and improve their legal literacy in the area of gender based violence in migrant and refugee communities. There were a range of presentations and workshops on topics from the mafia to life as a young Muslim in Italy. We heard from Judge Cristi who is using his platform to engage young people in judicial education, through social media, his blog, music videos and visits to schools in Romania. Then later all became engrossed in the applied drama, a fun and engaging space to try new solutions and tackle issues surrounding discrimination.   Frank discussions took place on the existence of institutional racism and the danger that this reinforces the idea of migrants as second class citizens. I was left deeply moved after powerful accounts of two young migrant women living in Cyprus (from Romania and the Congo) and their personal accounts and the discrimination they and others have experienced. Looking around at the current political climate you’d be forgiven for thinking that Europe is in crisis, multiculturalism has failed and alt-right nationalism is sweeping across the globe. But the week’s events were an overwhelmingly positive experience. I was left with an enduring sense of optimism, that things can and will be...
A Lesson Learnt from Brexit

A Lesson Learnt from Brexit

I was one of the 75% of 18-24 year olds who voted to remain in the European Union. That means I’m one of the 36% of 18-24 year olds who turned up to cast their ballot on 23rd June last year. These two statistics don’t sit comfortably together for me. The UK voted to leave by a narrow margin, 51.9% to 48.1%; had young people gone to the polls and made their voice heard might there have been a different outcome? We are now facing the greatest political upheaval of recent history. The UK is entering into a complex and lengthy negotiation process; there is simultaneously so much at stake and so little certainty. Whatever the outcome it is young people that will feel the consequences the longest. It is estimated that young people will have to live with the decision of the referendum for an average of 69 years. This makes the referendum the arguably the most significant political event of my generations lifetime, but one where the majority of young people did not vote. While a staggering 90% of those over the age of 65 voted in the EU referendum, a group that were overwhelmingly leave. A vote represents a chance to secure or change the future of how your country is governed. The upcoming election will determine the direction of UK policy, including how Brexit is implemented. However young people are massively under represented on the electoral register and youth turnout at elections is the lowest in Europe (among the 15 old EU members). With young people are not turning up to vote is it any...