Who is the younger generation? What are their needs as they navigate an ever-evolving and intricate world? To ignite a transformative spark in our society, it is absolutely vital to embrace the voices of our youth when making decisions that impact our global landscape. Youth Talks, the world’s largest youth consultation, has not only embraced this imperative but has also taken action by actively listening to young people around the world. The results are in!
From October 2022 onward, Youth Talks has been seeking the visions of young individuals from every corner of the globe. They’ve been asking what they expect and want to chart their course toward their desired future. In total, 45,000 young people, aged between 15 and 29, representing 212 countries and territories, have generously shared their thoughts, concerns, and dreams for the world of tomorrow. Harnessing the power of cutting-edge AI technology to sift through nearly a million responses, Youth Talks is now set to unveil a global, unfiltered panorama of the dynamic voices and aspirations of the world’s youth.
Peace is for the Youth the most pressing collective challenge to address
Globally, the foremost aspiration of young people is for world peace (32%), outshining even environmental worries, especially in some areas of the world such as Africa and South America.
They possess a deep yearning for peace, coupled with a concern for the specter of war and conflict. Despite their optimism for a peaceful future, they maintain a keen awareness of the current global landscape. Peace, to them, is a fundamental facet of well-being they fervently intend to preserve.
Young people are in unanimous agreement on the pressing need to rediscover the art of coexistence and construct a society rooted in shared values. In a world where individualism and isolation often overshadow our humanity, they recognize the urgent necessity for rebuilding interpersonal connections.
Transforming education :
A wake up call to educators, who the world’s young people overwhelmingly think should be teaching much more about values and how we can live together better in society.
Youth Talks spotlights the youth’s strong emphasis on comprehending, debating, and elevating the significance of values within education. They fervently implore educators to revamp teaching methods, placing a premium on nurturing harmonious coexistence and interaction.
While traditional disciplines still hold their ground, young people place personal values (45%) and practical life skills at the forefront, with China being the exception. This highlights the urgency for schools to address 21st-century challenges and align their educational offerings with the aspirations of younger generations, all while maintaining academic rigor.
For the Higher Education for Good Foundation, these results represent a pivotal cornerstone in their quest to reshape higher education. The comprehensive survey provides invaluable insights into the young generation’s expectations, offering a roadmap for how curricula can be adapted to foster positive change.
Youth Talks: transcending the boundaries of traditional surveys
From methodology to execution, Youth Talks has flipped the script on traditional surveys. First, it harnessed cutting-edge AI tools to power its analysis and consultation. The Youth Talks consultation as we know it might not have been possible just a year ago when AI technologies, especially generative AI, were not as powerful.
What is setting Youth Talks apart is its use of open-ended questions that granted absolute freedom of expression to its participants, freeing young people from any imposed mindset. This multipronged strategy resulted in an impressive number of respondents and a rich tapestry of thoughts and perspectives.
This tapestry unveiled a multitude of themes, with young people addressing 120 to 170 different topics per question. It showcased a diverse array of visions and a myriad of ways to express themselves.
Additionally, it leaned on a network of 2,300 dedicated ambassadors who bridged the digital divide, paving the way for participation in far-flung corners of the globe that might have otherwise remained out of reach. This approach enabled numerous individuals, who might never have heard of Youth Talks to take part in the conversation.
The West vs the rest of the world
However, while common ground was found, so were differences. Youth Talks unearthed a clear and significant divide on key issues between Western youth and their counterparts elsewhere in the world. Western youth seemed more rooted in material concerns, while others were motivated by unfulfilled dreams and unrealized aspirations.
For Western youth, financial stability ranked as their primary concern, with around one-third prioritizing it, compared to just one-tenth of participants from other regions. Western youth also appeared less willing to sacrifice material comforts for broader social progress, with 25% unwilling to give them up, in contrast to under 5% from other regions.Conversely, young people outside the West expressed concerns about having to relinquish their ambitions, identity, or connections with family and loved ones.
Yet, even among youth within the same region, significant disparities emerged. It is crystal clear when young people express their renunciations and attachments. While many young people expressed a readiness to make sacrifices for societal progress, Youth Talks revealed tensions within society. In Europe, for instance, while 40% were willing to reduce material consumption, 28% staunchly resisted the idea.
These inner tensions are crucial and demand attention from decision-makers.
Learn more about the consultation
One of the primary goals of Youth Talks is to ensure that young people’s contributions are accessible to everyone in the world. To achieve this, Youth Talks has created a global report as well as an online platform “Question Boxes”, allowing anyone to explore, compare ideas, and examine trends across different countries. Visit this platform to gain insights into how the youth perceives itself, envisions its future, and to challenge your own perspective on what lies ahead.