International Youth Forum Against Racism
Canadian pavilion at the World Exposition in Hannover
March 21 pages about the Youth Forum and the World Conference
Interview with Dr. Fry, Canadian Secretary of state for Multiculturalism and Women's Affairs (RealAudio, 28K stream).
Interview with Ismaël Abraham, English participant in the International Youth Forum Against Racism, August 10, 2000 (RealAudio, 28K stream).
Interview with Joanna Kinsella, English participant in the International Youth Forum Against Racism, August 9, 2000 (RealAudio, 28K stream).
Interview with Wasif Islam, Canadian participant in the International Youth Forum Against Racism, August 8, 2000 (RealAudio, 28K stream).
International Youth Forum Against Racism
The International Youth Forum Against Racism taking place at the Canada Pavilion at the World Exposition in Hannover is part of an ongoing effort by the Government of Canada to engage youth in the international struggle against racism.
The Youth Forum is led by Dr. Hedy Fry, Secretary of State (Multiculturalism) (Status of Women), who is committed to ensuring that youth have a voice in the fight against racial discrimination.
The Forum has also been officially recognized by the United Nations as a satellite meeting of the August 2001 World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance to be held in South Africa.
As such, the results of the meeting will feed officially into the international conference preparations and the forum report will be an officially recognized document by the United Nations.
In March 2000, more than 120 youth from 24 countries came together in Ottawa, Canada to participate in the Department of Canadian Heritage's "Racism. Stop It! Action 2000" initiative. Chosen for their commitment to and achievements in the struggle against racism and the promotion of equality, these youth travelled Canada sharing their experiences and ideas with a view to inspiring other youth to take up the challenge to eliminate racism. Their efforts were also led by Dr. Fry.
The culminating event of the "Racism. Stop It! Action 2000" initiative was the International Stop Racism Youth Forum.
The Government of Canada in collaboration with the YMCA of Canada and the Boys and Girls' Clubs of Canada provided youth from around the globe with an opportunity to develop strategies to counter racism in their respective countries and communities.
Just as important, the Forum allowed youth to work cooperatively to forge a network of informed and committed young people of diverse backgrounds who could speak authoritatively and compellingly about racism, intolerance and xenophobia from a youth perspective.
The Multiculturalism Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage consulted with the YWCA of Canada to ascertain which youth involved in the "Racism.
Stop It! Action 2000" initiative would be effective spokespersons. A primary concern was to ensure that Canada's ethnic, racial and regional diversity would be adequately represented, as would Canada's linguistic duality.
Youth involved in the Forum for Young Canadians were contacted to participate in the Hannover event to ensure a balanced roster of Canadian youth based on these concerns. The selection of international youth was at the discretion of the international partners in the "Racism. Stop It! Action 2000" initiative and youth from these countries have largely been drawn from Action 2000 participants.
The "Action 2000" initiative was only the first step in a much broader process. In order to have a meaningful impact, the voice of youth must be heard by national and international leaders who will advance the ideas of world youth and facilitate their participation in international events, particularly those in which decisions are taken that will direct and shape how governments and non-governmental organizations respond to the issue of racism and related forms of discrimination and intolerance.
The Hannover Youth Forum will provide young people from around the world with an opportunity to advance the work they began at the International Stop Racism Youth Forum in Ottawa. The emphasis will be on developing strategies for youth input and participation in the deliberations and decision-making of established international bodies.
In particular, youth will shape an international plan of action which will guide and inspire them to undertake activities in their respective countries of origin aimed at feeding directly into the United Nations World Conference Against Racism. It will be an opportunity for youth to have real influence in forging a common destiny at the onset of a new millennium.
Fifty-five young people from around the globe will meet at the International Youth Forum in Hannover. Twenty-nine delegates from host country Canada will meet their counterparts from Germany (10), United Kingdom (3), South Africa (2), Australia (1), Austria (2), USA (2), Antigua (1), St. Lucia (1), Guyana (1), Nicaragua (1), Brazil (1) and the Philippines (1).