The Youth Working Group.
We are a collective of leaders under 26 who have set out to advance social progress in the U.S. and abroad. We run projects that engage young people in various paths to progress, from peace building to sustainable development.
The Youth Working Group mission is to engage youth in the work of the U.S. National Commission to UNESCO while simultaneously empowering youth to lead therein. Formed as a working body of the U.S. National Commission, YWG and its members have played pivotal roles in strengthening the recognized value add of UNESCO and the work of the Commission.
The Youth Working Group began when Secretary Hillary Clinton appointed Alex Wirth as the first youth commissioner to the National Commission to UNESCO. He subsequently set up the group as a direct path for engaging young leaders in high level change and served as its Chair.
Since then, the Youth Working Group has assembled a task force of exceptional young leaders from across the United States. The group has developed inspired projects such as Global Hangouts, which convenes high energy youth to have conversations and share knowledge about social change, as well as live events bringing together leaders in the public sector and inspiring young change makers.
Since then, the group has focused on being a resources for the many entities within the National Commission in engaging youth and identifying inspiring youth lead endeavors to be elevated through the work of the National Commission. Learn more about our members here.
LETTER FROM THE CHAIR.
The U.S. Youth Working Group is a collective of 10 young pioneers driving progress across the issues that matter most to the future of our generation. Some of us are reimagining how education is delivered, others are driving climate action in communities around the world, and others are designing government policies that lead towards a more equal society. As a remote group spread out all over the map, we aim to demonstrate how the next generation can drive change in the digital age.
Our mission is simple: Lead the U.S. youth population (all 108 million of us) to take a more proactive role in shaping the future direction of our society.
One of the ways we do this is by initiating action across sectors. Our members are operating at the top of their fields as researchers, social entrepreneurs, policy makers, and creatives. YWG members lead a broad range of initiatives, from Our Climate Voices (a digital hub for climate journalism and action) to ImpactEd (a digital space where students can solve meaningful challenges and get the experience they need to find decent work). Our members are also involved in the leadership of high impact organizations such as The Institute For College Access and Success, Planned Parenthood, and When We All Vote.
Another way we seek to spark change is through YWG-led initiatives that address pressing challenges in our nation. One of the challenges we are taking on is a lack of youth civic engagement; in the 2016 election, only 46 percent of eligible Americans aged 18-29 voted. That’s why we’re launching YouthCan, an initiative that aims to get out the youth vote and create valuable pathways to civic engagement for the next generation. Through this initiative, we hope to give young people an outlet to make a difference on the issues that matter most to them.
There are many more ways in which we are committed to driving impact, from representing the youth voice in the media to advocating for youth representation throughout the United Nations. Ultimately, we aim to serve as a hub where young change agents can join a community of others fighting for a strong society.
As Chair, I am committed to leading the Youth Working Group to take a bold approach in imagining our role as new social, economic, and political landscapes come to form in the U.S. As I look around at the gravity of the challenges facing our nation and our world, I realize one thing: Never before has there been a greater need for new ideas, new leaders, new transitions.
The Youth Working Group has united because we believe that youth have the solutions our society needs. We are powerful, passionate, and optimistic. Our mission at YWG, a group run entirely by youth for youth, is to drive change that serves our future well while creating opportunities for each member of the next generation to serve as pioneers in the issues that matter most to them. We welcome any and all who share this vision to join us.
Austin Halbert, Chair of the Youth Working Group