ioanna fotopoulou

Archive for November, 2013|Monthly archive page

Youth challenges, Greek challenges, International ones.

In Press releases on November 17, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Youth challenges, Greek challenges, International ones.

Για να διαβάσετε το κείμενο στα ελληνικά, εδώ:
The actiVests. An NGO created in the Balkan region to introduce to the area an absent concept, the concept of civil society. To explain the aspects, delegate about it and establish it as part of people’s everyday lives.
With that in mind, the Greek team of the actiVests applied for One Young World Summit in Johannesburg. For a chance to get a scholarship to represent our country and present our efforts and opinions to an international audience like the one only One Young World can provide. And we got it. I was fortunate enough to have earned the opportunity to give a speech in “Leadership & Government” session. In this way, we achieved a hearing for Greece’s today’s situation in front of 190 different nationalities. Literally from all over the world.
But ignorant enough back then we believed that the problems the actiVests faces were unique to our home country, Greece. That we have to fight our way out of it alone. We believed, that by no chance someone else can understand what we go through. So wrong we were.
As the Summit was progressing and the days were passing a realization was coming. True, all the stories were somehow different. Yet, a key factor was the same, the youth empowerment. It is the courage of young leaders, which tackles problems in every corner of this world by using technology, innovation and by having constantly a positive thinking
After the actiVests trip to South Africa and the OYW experience, we came up with the idea of the “Global Talks Campaign”. We would bring young leaders, actively involved in youth issues of their countries, for open discussions in Thessaloniki, Greece. Discussions not just with the our nonprofit organization but also with different agencies like domestic NGO’s, rotary clubs, international youth organizations based in Central Macedonia’s prefecture of Greece, the youth of political parties, etc.
We would create that campaign which could enable knowledge to be shared, dialogue to generate solutions and even help someone struggling in another part of the world. A campaign that shows a way to gain experiences, avoid mistakes and learn from other leaders lessons.
Towards that direction we planned the first public talk. Our guest? An aspiring young leader, one of the activists in the youth movement and one of the 40 members of the National Youth Project in Kuwait.
We selected Kuwait’s OYW Ambassador in order to better test our hypothesis and claim. That, no matter how different two countries are at a first glance, the youth of each nation faces similar challenges and tries to pursue similar goals.
During his presentation, Mohammad AlMunaikh gave us the chronicle of Kuwait’s youth movement and its success factors. He clearly pointed out 2010, the year that the youth came to be more mature and connected thanks to modern technology and social media. During that year, youth had significant power to influence the decision making process. This was also made clear through the comments of Abdulaziz al Mutairi. Via skype he joined us and introduced to us the difficult decisions he had to make, being one of the leaders of the movement. The difficult times he had to go through among with other young people and the victories they achieved because they stayed united.


As a Kuwaiti, Mohammad was surprised by the similarities of our countries. “The more I meet people in different parts of our world, the more I become a believer that we all live to satisfy one same value- the freedom of choice” he said.
This is the tipping point where you realize, that we really live in a Global Neighboorhood. Every problem you might have, any solution you might come up with can help and give the know-how on tackling a problem in a neighborhood far far away in kilometers, yet so close on the feelings and hopes point of view.
Our remark: Two countries like Greece and Kuwait, so far away geographically, culturally, different in terms of religion, habits, income and customs found a common ground. We took a great lesson of Kuwait’s youth movement and their peaceful protests. We gave back our knowledge regarding our fights for free higher education and freedom of expression from our recent political history.
All those achievements won by the youth will now be enriched with more knowledge and experience, under the “Global Talks Campaign”. Society victories that were lead by youth, now are going public as a know-how to be shared with our and the coming generation, struggling for their fights.
There are no borders when it comes to ideas, no restrictions when it comes to determined young people. There are no Greek nor Kuwait youth problems. Only international ones.
Next stop of the campaign will be again Thessaloniki on the 1st of December. This time, some Serbian ambassadors are coming to talk about money, crowd funding and determination. Hopefully the third one will be somewhere around the globe. Do you believe you have something to say? Let’s organize a Global Talk together. In our country, in your country, on skype. We are excited to hear your stories.

For the actiVests team,
The International president
Ioanna Fotopoulou