Dear People to People International,
Thank you for changing my life! The Global Youth Forum was the best experience of my life. I made so many new family members that it broke my heart to leave them, but it’s thanks to PTPI that I met them in the first place!
PTPI and GYF changed me as a person – for the better. I learnt the value of humanity, of diverse human culture, and I learnt that despite our different countries and our different continents, all the inhabitants of our earth are in essence the same – we’re all human, and we need to treat each other as such. I came to GYF with preconceived notions about certain countries and the types of people that lived there – and I left with my heart full of love and understanding about the depths of humanity and the similarities we all share. I’ve learnt that physical language is a tiny barrier – the human language is universal.
I learnt a tremendous amount about the value of appreciating each individual for who they are. The people I met at GYF all had similar stories to share – GYF is the one place that youth with a common vision to spread peace through understanding throughout the world. It’s where we can meet, relate, develop, love and care – it’s a life-changing, perspective-altering, mind-blowing gathering of amazing people that are out to change the world.
Saiyuri Pillay – South Africa
We (PTPI) connect people of all countries and cultures because we believe that understanding one another is the best way to create peace. Each year, we hold a conference for students ages 13-18 years old that we call the Global Youth Forum, or GYF. It brings together students from all around the world – so far for 2013, we know that students from Yemen, the United States, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Romania, Poland, Malaysia, and Canada will be attending.
We believe international educational and cultural exchange among youth further ensures long-term friendship and understanding. When you have a friend from another country, you gain a new perspective on cultural differences. You also gain incredibly valuable insight into the realities of life in a different part of the world.
On a personal level, I know that I have gained a much deeper understanding of events related to the revolution in Egypt thanks to my colleague in Cairo. That makes me think of all of the students PTPI has helped to connect around the globe, and the way their global network shapes their lives. I imagine them sharing their knowledge in the classroom, and it reinforces my belief that there is tremendous value in making an effort to expand one’s worldview.
This year’s conference is Global Education: Providing a Vision for the Future. Through more than ten hours of educational sessions, delegates will work with teacher-leaders in small group sessions focusing on global education, participating in hands-on service work, meeting and learning from students from all over the world, hearing from inspiring speakers (including Dr. Tererai Trent, Oprah’s “all-time favorite guest”), having an interactive tour of DC monuments, and learning leadership and critical thinking skills. Many students say that their GYF experience is “life-changing” and the best week of their year.
If you know of a student or students who are globally-minded and a great fit for the GYF, please have them check out our event page HERE, and register soon (the deadline is August 31st). For more information about the GYF or if you have any questions, please contact my colleague, Sarah, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out more blog posts about the Global Youth Forum.
This guest post comes to us courtesy of Paige Badgett (@PTPIPaige), Director of the School & Classroom Program, at People to People International (PTPI). Check out past posts from Paige Badgett about promoting peace through classroom partnerships, finding global pen pal opportunities, and tips for successful, global collaborations.