2011 UNESCO Youth Forum Finalist -- George Demetrios Papadopoulos

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Bureau of International Organization Affairs
Washington, DC
June 27, 2011


George Demetrios Papadopoulos

"What is the greatest global challenge facing youth, and how can American youth help to address it?"

The greatest global challenge facing youths today is what I would like to call the ‘blocked elite’ syndrome and the concept of relative deprivation. In both of these situations, it must be assumed that the new generation, and or youths, strive to become the leaders of tomorrows political, economic and military world.  It is quite evident, as the current ‘Arab Awakening’ reverberates throughout the entire Middle East that it was not amalgamated by radical Jihadists, but, by the mainstream Arab civil society made up of the underrepresented, middle class and youth. What is occurring in the Middle East today is a reaction to decades of repression and false hopes, one where subsidized goods and money were given in the place of dignity and without hope of an upward social movement.

Youth unemployment and underrepresentation, the inability to hold a political stake in the future of their respective countries, because of elites who have held on to power for too long and or the emphasis on believing that a social economic and political situation is getting better and then for all of it to be taken and or retarded by elites must be an issue that is not only focused upon inside the Middle East, but worldwide. The youth of every country cannot be held accountable for the mistakes of a past generation, now is the time to allow the youth to hold a greater stake in the political future of their countries, and will occur in a piecemeal fashion once they are allowed the opportunities to work side by side with the incumbent elites of their societies to further their political goals and come to an agreement for the future of their countries and citizenry.

The American youth cannot expect for the elites to help every single one of them, they must write their own narrative and follow their own path for their futures. This would include the importance of obtaining a good education in the highly competitive knowledge based economy of the 21st century, and interning with high level individuals in their fields of interest. One may not expect for results to occur right away, however, with additional internship programs and more emphasis on education for America’s new generation, will inexorably lead the United State’s ancien regime and future generation on a collision course together towards a much brighter new decade for all parties involved.