PAUL PRYCE, local producer/writer/actor and local filmmaker Shari Petti were part of the Third International Youth Forum (IYF) on Creativity and Heritage along the Silk Road, in two forward-thinking cities, Changsha and Nanjing, in China.
The forum and the activity were hosted by Unesco; the World Federation of Unesco Clubs, Centers and Associations; the China National Commission for Unesco; the Changsha Municipal People’s Government; and the Nanjing Municipal People’s Government and took place between March 31 and April 3.
Pryce and Petti joined 120 other handpicked delegates from over 100 countries of which another ten were from the Caribbean, to exchange partnership with Unesco and engage the brightest young people from around the world to find solutions on how to achieve their Sustainable Development Guidelines by 2030. The delegates were a varied mix of artists, educators, cultural administrators, advocates, entrepreneurs and policymakers engaged in their respective communities.
Eventually Pryce and the Cuban delegate were selected to represent the Caribbean alongside delegates representing Africa, Europe, The Middle East and Asia to draft what was dubbed "The Changsha Initiative" – a policy document that incorporated the views and recommendations from the rest of the world into a cohesive document to be presented to United Nations member states later this year.
Asked about his experience at the forum Pryce said: “Being part of the Changsha Initiative was an extraordinary experience in that I was among young world leaders in the field of arts from around the world, from Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia working with policymakers from the Unesco to harness the feedback and the ideas of our colleagues from the world and hammer out a cohesive document that would be presented to the secretary general and other member nations at the United Nations.
“It was a very powerful opportunity to be an active participant in affecting change around the world. It was an honour to have been chosen to be a part of the drafting committee of the Changsha Initiative and it reminded me that our size as a country doesn't matter on the world stage but the content of our ideas. I was very proud to be representing TT at the IYF3 and even prouder to have been part of a Caribbean contingent that was very active and vocal in our collective participation.”
Pryce said being among the young leaders in Changsha and Nanjing was an enlightening and inspiring opportunity to exchange ideas and create solutions to today’s problems using art, culture and media.
He said learning about the Unesco Sustainable Development Guidelines and how young leaders can use their collective genius as educators, artists, cultural administrators, advocates, entrepreneurs and policymakers to transform communities and by doing so change the world, was a lightning rod of inspiration to him and has redefined how he will use his work to impact change in TT, the wider Caribbean region and the world.
“Coming out of the third International Youth Forum I have forged strong bonds with the delegates from around the world particularly with my fellow Caribbean representatives. We have already met and started to brainstorm initiatives of our own to rally youth in the Caribbean region to find creative solutions to many of the troubles facing us today.”
Pryce said the forum aimed to implement the spirit of general secretary of the Communist Party Xi Jinping’s reply to the youth representatives attending the 2018 IYF, among them being to follow the national “Belt and Road” Initiative and the cultural “going global” strategy; highlight Changsha’s achievements in media arts and cultural creative industry; and to strengthen Changsha and Nanjing’s exchanges and co-operation with countries along the “Belt and Road.”
“The initiative consists of five key words: creativity, innovation, exchange, capacity building and youth. Three major consensuses have been reached:
Youth is the vitality of innovation and creativity;
Youth are the beneficiaries and contributors of mutual communication and learning;
Young people with abilities and skills are the dream-seekers of the new era and contributors to a better world.
“The Changsha Initiative. is meant to encourage governments, enterprises, and schools to:
Provide financial and intellectual support for young people to promote their innovation and entrepreneurship;
Strengthen the building of platforms that will facilitate communication among young people, and launch international youth projects and competitions; and,
Encourage young people to share resources, leverage their strengths, and organise cultural activities in various places.”