Industry Stories — 19 October 2018

How technology brought the world’s youth together and what we can learn from them

Congress of Youth

Today’s youth are affected by the politics of the world as much as anyone else, yet they have little to no voice on how decisions are made. The International Congress of Youth Voices (ICYV) was founded as a means to elevate their ideas and energy, and to unite young people from places as far afield as Syria, Zambia and Nepal in a combined effort to change the world. This is the story of how technology is making it happen.


Uniting inspiring young people from around the world

“Dave Eggers and I began working on international projects last year,” says Amanda Uhle, Co-founder of ICYV. “Dave has met some extraordinary young people over the years and has always wondered what might happen if an inspirational 18-year-old from Boston could be in the same room as an amazing young person from Dublin—if all these extraordinary young people could meet and plan together. The International Congress of Youth Voices is essentially this put into action.”

Technology has been essential in pulling the event together. “When you have a worldwide scope and your target audience is 16 to 20 year olds, you learn quickly that traditional methods of communication aren’t going to be enough,” says Amanda. “We embraced new channels for recruiting and organising the event, and used cloud-based documents and forms to keep us all aligned.”

Writing the manifesto for the youth of today

One of the core objectives of the event is to connect young people and keep them connected all year round. “We are acting as a conduit, connecting people to work together, build partnerships and solve problems,” says Amanda. “There has never been a better or more important time to do it. Technologies exist now that are erasing barriers. Google translate, for example, is removing the language barrier while other technology is making it possible for people worldwide to work closely together.”

The event was sponsored by The Guardian as a media partner, who offered their global platform to the students to communicate their message directly with the world. “The students realised the significance of this opportunity and were galvanised by the chance to speak directly to so many people,” says Amanda. “They produced a brilliant manifesto for the youth of today, for tomorrow’s activists and something that keeps them all working together in the same direction.”


What we can learn from The International Congress of Youth Voices

“Since the event, we have had numerous students from the event speaking via Skype or in person to high school classrooms all over the world,” says Amanda. “They talk about their activism and their experiences. We had a young woman from Vietnam talk about colonialism and a young woman from Johannesburg talk about gun violence. We have activists for peace. We have a young man from California talking about issues of racial equity. And a young man from Syria talking about immigration to the United States. These young people challenged and expanded the thinking of all of us adults involved. The output has been amazing.”

Asked for her advice and to share her vision of the future, Amanda was full of hope that technology will continue to make the world a smaller, and better place: “If young people can come together from all over the world to produce something brilliant, then there is nothing stopping you from achieving great things. If you are a leader, bring people together and then trust them to deliver. Watch what young people can do together. I am filled with excitement following this event, having witnessed what tomorrow holds for the world.”

To find out more about how technology is being used to connect people around the world, head to the stories section on our blog. If you are interested in taking part or supporting the movement, Amanda is looking for corporate and foundation sponsors. You can reach her at:

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