“Inspiring Development: Ideas Unleashed”

“Inspiring Development: Ideas Unleashed” was the theme of the student-led International Development Conference of 2013, held at University of Toronto Scarborough on February 9th and 10th.

YCI was honoured to be invited to conduct a workshop on youth development issues for both days.  The workshop, entitled Building Communities & Leaders Through Global Youth Development, was lead by YCI’s Volunteer Coordinator Amanda Armstrong and co-facilitated by YCI’s program development assistant Kristy Tomkinson.


Amanda and Kristy presenting

Approximately 45 participants, including professionals, university students, and high school students, took part in YCI’s workshops, and around 200 people in total attended the conference.  It was a great opportunity to have an open dialogue and discussion about current issues facing youth around the world and the various strategies that can be employed in addressing those issues.

As part of the workshop, participants were asked to discuss in small groups, the following questions:

Why is youth development important?
Why should we invest in youth?
What role can youth play in international and/or community development?


Below are some of the key ideas that emerged from the group discussions:

Youth are….

A large population
The Future
Government shapers
World changers
Very vulnerable
The path to success
The most vocal about their opinions
More open to change
Less cynical than adults
Not afraid to voice their opinions

Youth have….

More ability to empathize and connect with each other
Fresh ideas
Creative capabilities
Passion and energy
Untapped potential
Marketing skills
A sense of social justice

Youth are lacking…

A public voice
Skills development
Economic, mental, health, and educational empowerment
Help to face numerous obstacles


Youth can….

Keep people motivated
Be highly involved within their communities
Confront the legacy of the past
Network and communicate
Provide solutions and opportunities
Raise awareness
Meet the needs of their peers
Mobilize their skills
Innovate and adapt
Take new risks
Take action
Create discussion
Challenge norms
Share optimism
Share perspectives

Indeed, youth have the ability to recognize, discuss, and strategize solutions to the various issues facing the youth population globally.  This is why, at YCI, we believe in and are passionate about the dynamic energy and leadership potential of youth to drive positive change within their communities.

YCI was very excited to have been invited to the IDS Conference, and we look forward to attending similar events in the future!


Program Development Intern Kristy


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