International Studies & Programs

International Youth Day: Innovation Collaboratory 2023

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Published: Monday, 25 Sep 2023 Author: Global Youth Advancement Network

On Thursday, August 10th, the Global Youth Advancement Network (GYAN) at Michigan State University hosted a virtual Innovation Collaboratory to celebrate International Youth Day, an annual observance recognized by the United Nations. 

Faculty and staff from MSU engaged in dialogue with global youth who are innovating exciting projects, research, and solutions for global issues. The dialogue between youth and mentors also connected the event to the United Nations’ theme for International Youth Day 2023, Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World.

We were honored to invite Dean Steven Hanson, Vice Provost and Dean for International Studies and Programs, to give the opening remarks as an inspiring start to the day, and to reinforce to our youth participants the value and potential connections MSU sees in their global work toward progress and sustainable development. To close the event, Opal Leeman Bartzis Ed.D.,the Executive Director of Education Abroad and Interim Director of the Global Youth Advancement Network, welcomed all of the attendees on behalf of the GYAN team, and highlighted GYAN’s mission to work towards connecting young minds to strive toward success and achievement. 

Screenshot of some of the IYD 2023 participants on Microsoft TeamsThe virtual Innovation Collaboratory included six panels, each consisting of a youth group coordinator, one MSU faculty member acting as an expert, and youth presenters who shared the work they are doing toward sustainable development. Each panel included a space devoted to networking between participants, along with tailored feedback and mentoring from the expert panelist. We were pleased to hear from a total of 16 youth participants from 11 different countries and nations.

The event also included a “Mindstorm Session,” during which participants brainstormed together their vision for an ideal future, shared their ideas related to the contributions individuals can make toward a greener world, and compiled a list of skills essential to reaching this envisioned future. This list of skills was generated into a word cloud, which participants received a copy of to share with their communities in order to raise awareness of the knowledge, behaviors, and actions that are needed to support a sustainable society. Word cloud of skills generated during the IYD Mindstorm Session

Among the skills generated during the exercise were “collaboration and community,” “critical thinking,” and “innovation,” all skills that were demonstrated by this group of ​​thoughtful, passionate doers and fostered during this event. GYAN looks forward to continuing to host capacity building and collaborative programs like these that celebrate and encourage the leadership efforts of young people to work together toward the future they would like to create!

For more information about each presentation, please visit GYAN's website