No generation has ever grown up in a world more connected, more complex, and more globalised than the current population of youth. No generation has ever grown up with the means, technologies and opportunities to satisfy curiosities and to learn about the most remote issues and cultures and the most foreign of contexts. More importantly, no generation has grown up with more possibilities to be involved in addressing challenges and to participate in processes that affect them more than today's young people. Multiple factors are responsible for this.
The concerned and interested nature of today's youth drives them to stand up and be counted. The leadership of inspiring innovators pulls together the pieces that bring an extraordinary vision to life. The Internet is the greatest driver of this youth movement. TakingITGlobal is the center of this vast, and fast growing revolution.
Five years ago, two energetic, passionate, idealistic young Canadians had a dream of harnessing the power of the Internet to empower youth around the world to participate in creating a different world. Five years later, their idea has come alive and has given birth to hundreds of thousands of connections, projects, conversations, relationships and forever changed the role of young people in addressing local issues and shaping global affairs. TakingITGlobal is today, the world's most popular and, without a question, the most dynamic online community of young people making a difference. The United Nations has also noticed it. Fortune 500 companies has acknowledged this. The World Economic Forum also recognises it. And more importantly, a global network of the some of the worlds leading young thinkers, activists and leaders belong to this community.
It is almost impossible to quantify the impact of TakingITGlobal over five years. Because you cannot measure inspiration and its various manifestations. Yet the stories of those involved with TakingITGlobal make it very clear that is has re-shaped their world beyond the wildest dreams and imaginations that Michael Furdyk and Jennifer Corriero held back in 2000 when they launched their project.
TakingITGlobal serves an important role in today's global community. It provides a platform for the youth to connect, to learn and to take action. It provides tools and information that thousands of people would otherwise not have access to. Through TakingITGlobal, young people are engaged in understanding the world they are a part of, and as members of a learning and acting community, they grow to better identify their roles in this complex and often confusing world.
Young people have leapt into the waters of the ICT revolution and have fast become its most effective and important swimmers. More than ever before, youth are using technologies to create learning communities across the globe (www.pioneersofchange.net); to establish platforms for advocacy and pushing for changes in government policies (www.yesweb.org/yescountrynetworks); as well as to engage in a cross-cultural dialogue about matters most important to them (www.chatheplanet.com).
TakingITGlobal shatters the stereotype that youth are drawn to ICTs for entertainment, shopping, and perhaps to plagiarise the odd assignment. The community of young people at Taking IT Global has a very clear objective: to make a difference in their communities. Their ideas transform to action. ICTs provide the tools and the means to act. Through TakingITGlobal's network, initiatives and partnerships, youth have launched community projects in over 150 countries (www.gysd.net) which is an outstanding achievement.
Events take place globally almost everyday that stop and reflect on important issues affecting our world. TakingITGlobal members are bound to be there (http://events.takingitglobal.org/). At these events, youth are contributing to a global dialogue and thought process. They are actively participating in shaping the future of communities, nations and our planet.
Some consider fives years of growth and existence to merely be worthy of applause, but not worthy of celebration. I beg to differ. Consider where TakingITGlobal has come from, what it has done, and the capacity with which this young organisation has efficiently, effectively and openly had an impact on our world. It has been started by young people with a big idea and little resources of any kind emerging as the bubble burst in the very realm that TakingITGlobal was about