Paris, New York, April 2024

A delegation of 30 LearningPlanet Youth Fellows from 12 countries represented and carried out the mission of the Learning Planet Institute – Co-designing the Future of Learning with Youth – at the recent ECOSOC 2024 Youth Forum,  16 to 18 April 2024 at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York City.

UN Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) 2024 Youth Forum, an annual initiative of the ECOSOC President, which has evolved into a key platform where young people can contribute to policy discussions at the UN through their collective ideas, solutions and innovations. With hundreds of delegates in-person and online, the forum provided a space for dialogue and partnerships.

This year’s forum focused on reviewing progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly on global poverty reduction, peace, and included preparations for the forthcoming UN General Assembly Summit of the Future this September, featuring the LearningPlanet Youth Fellows prominently through collaborative workshops and presentations notably with Ban Ki-Moon Foundation, and Global Schools Program.

The Youth Fellows represented diverse backgrounds and regions, with a majority of participants hailing from America and Asia and participated in collaborative workshops and presentations. Among them were five finalists from Learning Planet Institute’s Youth  Design Challenge, held during this year’s LearningPlanet Festival. These finalists presented their innovative Education programs focused on flourishing, community engagement, and sustainability, showcasing the potential of Youth-led innovation in reimagining the future of Education.

The participants included:

  • Daniel Persky (USA) ; ‘Sustainable Development Career Program’  to enable people of all ages to have climate resilient careers.
  • Jay Liu  (Hong Kong); ‘Ad Bonam Fidem: the Appeal to Good Faith’ to cultivate a logical framework-based approach to conflict resolution.  
  • Jiatong Han(China) ;‘NexovateI’ to unite global youth to innovate at the nexus of science, technology, and society through the promotion of ethical solutions.
  • Ruonan Zhao (Canada); ‘Fuelling Futures’ to build a learning environment that is enjoyable and safe for students, allowing them to focus on their education and flourishing futures. 
  • Siyona Bordia (USA);‘RightfullyHers’ to raise awareness about gender-based disparities in health and across sectors through a learning program.

Collaborating with esteemed partners such as the Ban Ki-moon Foundation for a Better Future, Global Schools Program, and the UNESCO SDG4 Youth and Students network, the Youth Fellows also participated in sessions designed to foster exchanges between students and educators, promoting learning programs that advance the SDGs. 

Key Highlights

The Learning Planet Institute, including its Youth members, alongside KidsforSDGs and other partners, spearheaded initiatives to amplify youth engagement and foster collaboration towards sustainable development goals (SDGs). 

ECOSOC Plenary Sessions:  These sessions primarily centered on advancing Sustainable Development Goals and laying the groundwork for the upcoming United Nations General Assembly Summit of the Future this September. Despite limited interaction, LearningPlanet Youth Fellows could participate in the dialogue, advocating for increased collaboration and inclusive youth engagement.

Learning for Global Citizenship reception: Ban Ki-Moon Foundation and Global Schools Program co-hosted an evening reception with the Learning Planet Institute and KidsforSDGs, bringing together 120 delegates to explore pathways for integrating youth into the advancement of global citizenship. Breakout sessions led by the Learning Planet Institute team and Youth Fellows delved into learning programmes for global citizenship. LearningPlanet Youth Fellows seized the opportunity to address recommendations for learning programmes on global citizenship, and finalists of the Planetizen University Youth Design Challenge could also present their innovative learning programmes. Notable participants of this session included delegations from the Senegalese and Congolese Youth Ministries, as well as directors from the Global Students Forum, UNESCO SDG4 Youth and Students Network, Global Schools Program, and the Ban Ki Moon Foundation.

– Online Sessions: The online events broadened the reach of the dialogue and facilitated exchanges. Bui Gia Khan – Planetizen University Youth Design Challenge finalist – presented her innovative learning programme to over 200 delegates during the Global School programs ECOSOC online side event. Additionally, LearningPlanet student and team member Ilia Lysenko co-facilitated a UNESCO online event on Peace Education. 

Ed Stevenette, LearningPlanet Youth Community Coordinator at the Learning Planet Institute, expressed enthusiasm about the participation: “We were privileged to be one of the largest Youth delegations at the ECOSOC Youth Forum, bringing the voices of young education game-changers to the forefront. Our Fellows are making a compelling case for co-creating new learning paradigms with Youth at the heart of the SDGs agenda.”

The participation of the LearningPlanet Youth Fellows at the ECOSOC 2024 Youth Forum is a testament to the vital role of Education in fostering global sustainability and peace.

“The best aspects of the “Learning for Global Citizenship” event are the inclusivity and diversity. There were lively conversations, vibrant exchanges of ideas, engaging discussions of solutions, which are different from the formal speeches in plenary sessions from designated speakers on the floor. I was grateful and honored to be invited to present a learning program I developed under UNESCO/Learning Planet’s Planetizen Design Challenge to the attendees (…)”, Daniel Persky

“After the ECOSOC Youth Forum 2024, I’m filled with a mix of emotions, but I still have hope. The inspiring experiences, discussions, and connections reaffirmed my belief in the power of youth to drive positive change.”, Jiatong (Annie) Han

Next Steps

Following the ECOSOC Youth Forum, the Learning Planet Institute and its LearningPlanet community remain committed to addressing access barriers and exploring avenues for broader youth participation in international events.

It will continue to equip young people with essential tools and support to transform their innovative ideas into impactful solutions through its exclusive training program for the Youth Design Challenge finalists. With dedicated mentors and a robust framework, we are committed to fostering growth of youth ideas for education.

For additional information on Learning Planet Institute, Youth Fellows and the ECOSOC 2024 Youth Forum agenda, interested parties are encouraged to contact Edward Stevenette at [email protected].

About the Learning Planet Institute and its LearningPlanet Alliance

Based in Paris, the Learning Planet Institute is an interdisciplinary, learning community that explores and shares new ways of cooperating that respond to the needs of the youth and the planet. Its mission is to co-design the future of learning with youth and develop innovative solutions for a more sustainable world.Since 2019, in partnership with UNESCO, the Learning Planet Institute runs the LearningPlanet Alliance, encouraging concrete collaboration between hundreds of partners worldwide, rethinking Education. The Youth Fellows are an inspiring community of 500 young change-makers from over 75 countries, who aspire to transform the Education sector and beyond.