The answers to some of the most daunting challenges facing Asia’s youth may be found in Asia’s youth themselves. This is the premise to Telenor Pakistan and Telenor Group’s announcement today that it is bringing its global Telenor Youth Forum to Asia for the first time. Part of a commitment to empowering a generation of digital natives,the event will include6 delegates from Pakistan and brings together the leaders of tomorrow in Bangkokfor a two-day session to address challenges for youth in the region.
The annual Telenor Youth Forum is organized in partnership with the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway and invites talented youth from Telenor’s markets around the world to find paths to dialogue and peace. Focusing on solutions that combine technology, engagement and advocacy, the participating opinion leaders build bridges across borders and exchange knowledge and ideas.
This year, the Oslo-based forum is expanding to Asia for the first time, for a regionally-focused Forum that centers on solving some of the most pressing youth issues in Asia. The five issues range from youth unemployment to dialogue and access surrounding less talked about topics, such as mental health.
The participating 28 delegates are all alumni of the global Telenor Youth Forum from the past three years and represent Telenor’s six markets in Asia. In addition to Pakistan, these includeBangladesh, India, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand. Born into a digital age, these young innovators are passionate about social causes and believe that the power of technology can create action and real change.
Representing Telenor Pakistan are:
Saad Hamid, the Innovation & Community Lead at Invest2Innovate (i2i) and committed to making information accessible.
Fatima Rizwan, Founder and CEO of Techjuice and is passionate about stimulating startups in Pakistan.
Awais Imran, a growth engineer, internet entrepreneur and co-founder of PiceOye.
Sadaf Amin, student at University of Agriculture, Faisalabad who dreams of harnessing mobile technology to launch agriculture projects that help global population combat hunger.
Maaz Imran, a student of NUST Business School and co-founder of eTuitionHub who is passionate about making education accessible to all.
Haroon Yasin, as co cofounder of Orenda project, is creating engaging curriculum with virtual artists and animators.
The delegates will be organized into teams and be guided by world-class mentors and speakers from organizations such as the United Nations Development Programme, UNICEF Global Innovation Centre
and the Nobel Peace Center, who will provide expert resources for strategy building, design planning and solution delivery. The event will also include keynotes by SigveBrekke, President and CEO of Telenor Group, and Liv Tørres, Executive Director of the Nobel Peace Center.
“By reconnecting our markets’ brightest, most engaged and tech-savvy youth to address challenges facing their peers in Asia, we hope to see creative solutions that inspire scalable programs that will empower youth in the region,” said Brekke. “As we pilot the Telenor Youth Forum in Asia, we are not only furthering our commitment to an inclusive digital future, but also expanding this formerly Oslo-based programme into a year-round cycle of dialogue and production.”
LivTørres, Executive Director, Nobel Peace Center, said, “Our mission is to inspire peace, and we have partnered with the Telenor Youth Forum because it provides an arena for young people with ideas and passion to address the issues that matter most in building a path to peace. We are excited to take part in this program in Asia as it sources real solutions from the people best equipped to make the biggest difference in their region.”
Tackling Five Challenges for Asia
During the course of the two-day forum, participants will develop actionable solutions to five key challenges that have been outlined for youth in Asia:
Fighting youth joblessness: Youth unemployment in Asia is more than double the rate of the total working population and working poverty is significantly higher for workers in younger age brackets. How can Asia realistically decrease youth unemployment and how can technology assist in this challenge?
Getting more girls in schools: In South Asian countries, eight girls for every 10 boys are enrolled in secondary education, while three women for every four men are enrolled in tertiary education. What solutions are possible to address gender inequality in education and can technology lead social change?
Educating young laborers:Children who are forced to work to sustain their families lose out on opportunities for education and development. How can child or youth workers be reached with innovative solutions such as mobile education programs, in order to provide them with both education and a safe environment to gain self-confidence and critical thinking skills?
Breaking the taboo of mental health: Adolescence is the age when mental health issues first surface and young people are at greater risk of dying of suicide and violence. Depression and eating disorders are also on the rise in Asia, but dialogue on these topics remains limited. How can technology play a role in reducing taboos around mental health and provide new channels for access and inclusion?
Engaging youth in nation dialogue: Young people comprise approximately half of Asia’s population and there is an urgent need to incorporate youth perspectives into national development and the political process. How can technology help overcome barriers to civil participation among youth and encourage democracy, voting, and inclusion into the formal political process?
The standout solution presented by the five teams will be featured at the Telenor Youth Forum in Oslo.
“We are thrilled that 6 of Pakistan’sfuture leaderswill have this opportunity to help address the most pressing issues affecting youth in today’s rapidly changing world,” said Michael Foley, CEO Telenor Pakistan. “We look forward to showcasing their proposed solutions to inspire others across Pakistan to engage, innovate and take action.”
Telenor Youth Forum Asia 2016 will take place from May 25-26 in Bangkok, Thailand. The global Telenor Youth Forum is in its fourth year and will be held in Oslo, Norway during the Nobel Peace Prize week in December. For more information on the upcoming 2016 program, and to learn more about how to apply for it, visit: https://www.telenor.com/youthforum/.