Behind the Voices - "I'm tired of being talked at. Let's make this a conversation."
- 116 Articles
Who is behind one of the winning pieces of the Guardian Submission?
Voices of Youth ran a contest where we asked you, "Why is it important for children & youth to have a voice in business?" The two winners had their submission published in The Guardian and UNICEF Business Sustainable Business Supplement. We invited Lia, one of the winners, to go Behind the Voices with us. Read her published article in The Guardian: http://bit.ly/1bnFMrJ
Please introduce yourself (name, age, what you do, etc.):
My name is Lia and I am 16 years old. I'm a student at the International School of Geneva, so "what I do" can be summarized very simply in one word: procrastinate. I'm one of a rare breed of people who experience the most extreme frustration when somebody asks me where I'm from, because I'm half Spanish and half Norwegian. I've studied at international schools all over the world; Costa Rica, Spain, Kazakhstan, and of course, Switzerland. It's hard to give a concise introduction because there's always so much I want to say, but I think that works as a summary.
What are the expectations of young people in your country or community?
Switzerland has a large elderly population, there is no denying it. Because of that, youth are often brushed aside in matters. I live in the bubble of my school and the international community where things are different. My school values young people's opinions unlike any other, and it's one of the only communities I've encountered where challenging an adult is encouraged. There are high expectations for all young people I brush shoulders with. We are often referred to as the leaders of tomorrow and throughout school, there is a feeling that everyone will go on to do something great.
Why is youth participation in today’s society very important/necessary?
I wrote an essay about it, so I'll be concise. Youth are huge consumers in the world we live in, and the fact that we are simultaneously pandered to and brushed aside doesn't sit well with me at all. I also think that if youth become involved with society start listening, and are listened to, it will make the transition from the old world to the new world far smoother than what it seems to be right now.
Are you engaged in civic issues? If so, what do you do?
I am not, unfortunately. The most I do in terms of civic issues is read the news and then rant about them in my spare time to anyone who'll listen. I'm involved with humanitarian organizations at school such as my schools' Amnesty International chapter and a mission to Nepal, but I am not blind to the fact that I could do that much more.
What is your motto or your favorite expression?
This is one of the hardest questions on here. The truth is, I wouldn't be able to even know where to begin when it comes to my favorite expression.
Is there any advice or message you want to give to youth?
I don't feel qualified to give advice to anyone, because I've lived a short and very privileged life so far. It seems slightly ridiculous to think of myself as someone who can give any advice at all while I'm still fumbling around trying to work out what's happening around me every day. If I had to give a piece of advice I suppose it would be something about how important it is to read, be it the news or novels, stories or blogs, and how important it is to have confidence in oneself. It might seem silly and the two imperatives appear completely irrelevant to each other, but what I've found is that what gets you furthest in the world is being able to talk about interesting things with authority. It is impossible to achieve anything without them. With those two things in your arsenal, I really don't see how anyone can go wrong in the world.