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3 Days to Brainstorm—in Paris

By Carol Brévart-Demm


Duong Tran speaks to delegates on the stage at the 2013 UNESCO Youth Forum.

For three days in late October, 500 national student delegates from more than 150 countries assembled at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris for the 8th UNESCO Youth Forum. The carefully selected group spent three days brainstorming on the theme Youth and Social Inclusion: Civic Engagement, Dialogue and Skills Development. Duong Tran ’15, a native of Vietnam, was chosen to attend.

Last summer, Tran, a Chinese and economics double major and Lang Opportunity Scholar, interned for the director general of the Vietnam National Commission for UNESCO. She was so impressed with Tran that she nominated him as a Youth Forum delegate.

“We gathered in Paris to exchange ideas and debate on three axes for an official Youth Forum Outcome Document,” Tran says.

Tran was chosen to be one of four “rapporteurs,” whose initial role included gathering opinions on the three axes from youth around the world before the forum and compiling them into a draft list of recommendations to be discussed by the delegates during the event. The rapporteurs then delivered summaries of their group’s discussions for inclusion in the “outcome document.” Their topic was Policy Formation and Review with the Participation of Youth.

“On the first day of the forum, I had the honor of being up on the stage to introduce the Axis 1 rapporteurs’ draft recommendations,” he says. Tran also introduced himself and his home country, speaking of its beautiful landscape, hospitable population, and vibrant youth community.

“It was truly exhilarating to speak in front of such a brilliant group of young people with diverse backgrounds yet the common purpose of creating positive change in the world. The forum broadened my understanding of youth development as an essential component of sustainable development. The knowledge that I gained was a valuable addition to my academic pursuits in public policy. And my new connections with other delegates during the Forum will open up further possibilities for me to broaden the impact of my current LOS project in the coming years,” Tran says.

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