The “Millennium Manifesto” will strengthen youth activism

  • Young people express themselves and act to meet the challenges of the world.
  • To help sharpen and elevate their activism, the “Millennium Manifesto” outlines six guiding principles.
  • Read the “Davos Labs: Youth Recovery Plan” report here.

Ten years ago, the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street made the world aware of the growing generational divide and the power of youth activism. Now, a decade later, as young people face the world’s worst growing socio-political and environmental crises, they are once again inspiring change and taking action.

Tired of accusations that young people are the problem, they are determined to be the solution. They demand that the world’s leaders and businesses increase their equity, protect our planet, and ensure that no one is left behind. And they take the lead in providing the ideas, innovations and initiatives to do so.

Lessons from young activists

I have been fortunate to be a part of different movements and organizations over the past 20 years, working with my peers to give young people a seat at the table and make sure their voices are heard.

It all started in my alma mater when I was given a voice in organizing a student trip. Who would have thought that a simple gesture of encouraging a shy and introverted student to share their contribution could lead them to become an engaged and engaged servant leader? I learned then that not rejecting any opinion or person is a very powerful and simple gesture that we can all do in our daily lives.

I have also seen how young people mature in dealing with complex issues and portraying previously taboo subjects. It is an important lesson for leaders that they should not hesitate to bring up any taboo subject – there are no taboo subjects, only a taboo way of approaching them.

The Global Shapers community is a network of young people under the age of 30 who work together to foster dialogue, action and change to address local, regional and global challenges.

The community is made up of more than 8,000 young people in 165 countries and territories.

Shapers teams form hubs in cities where they self-organize to create projects that meet the needs of their community. The focus of the projects is broad, ranging from disaster response and poverty alleviation, to tackling climate change and building inclusive communities.


Examples of projects include Water for Life, a Cartagena Hub effort that provides families with water filters that remove biological toxins from the water supply and fight preventable diseases in the area, and Yerevan Hub’s Creativity Lab, which offers activities for children of all ages. 7 to 9 to stimulate creative thinking.

Each Shaper is also personally and professionally committed to taking action to preserve our planet.

Join or support a hub near you.

Now more than ever, the world needs young people to come together to meet the many other challenges that lie ahead. But obstacles remain. While the past decade has seen the power of youth activism to highlight and uproot systemic issues, it has also shown that young people face challenges of experience and credibility.

To help young people around the world overcome these challenges, the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community, a network of over 14,000 young people working together as a team to change their local realities, launched a Millennium Manifesto as part of the ” Davos Lab: Youth Recovery Plan “to provide timeless principles for refining and uplifting youth activism.

The resulting document is a courageous and daring guide to a generation that does not hesitate to act and that welcomes inclusive dialogues. Drawing on a decade of experience and learning, it captures our vision for the future and the steps our generation and the next generation must take to leave behind a better world than the one we have inherited.

Our commitment to create positive change

1. We will create a space for intergenerational dialogue.

We will listen to and learn from each other – past, present and future. We will respect the global context and the coexistence of all parts of the world. We will share the learnings to avoid replication. We will test, iterate and improve our approach to become better leaders and ancestors.

2. We will ask big questions to advance bold solutions.

We will take the time to learn why the structures are the way they are and to know the history of our communities, before acting. We will recognize that co-creation begins with consultation to understand systems. We will make decision-making information accessible so that it is truly inclusive.

3. We will pursue systems change and collective action.

We will build bridges within and between communities to strengthen structures that work and dismantle those that do not. We will set ambitious goals and move from words to action. We will focus on local changes that can lead to global transformations and celebrate our progress.

4. We will make room for various lived experiences.

We will build authentic relationships with the communities most affected by inequalities and injustices. We will recognize why we care about issues and who we relate to them. We will join forces, share power and make decisions in an open and transparent manner.

5. We will accept uncomfortable conversations.

We will give up our privilege and give everyone a seat at the table. We are committed to listening, understanding and co-creating solutions. We will create courageous spaces for ideas to be heard, questioned and challenged. We will recognize the complex intersectionality of social change.

6. We will take care of ourselves, others and our ecosystem.

We will be kind and caring. We will practice self-care and community care. We will protect mental health and well-being. We will find a balance between patience and impatience. We will be genuine, vulnerable and radically inclusive. We will protect our planet and our common future.

It is crucial to involve young people in decision making, and it is even more important for young people to think differently about how they want to engage. Dialogue, system change, collective intelligence, diversity and learning from the past are necessary steps for youth activism in the future. This Millennium Manifesto is our commitment to improve the state of the world.


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