Currently, the world population has increased to more than 7 billion. As it can be seen in the growth of BRICS, many countries have gotten out of the poverty and been enjoying the development.
However, the tendency that only some parts of the world accumulate wealth still continues. Under the snare of the poverty, the poorest still
exists, and the disparity of wealth is increasing.
Even in such a difficult situation, many youths, not only from Japan but also from all over the world, are interested in international development field, and consider the career in the field. Despite their concern and their career set in such area, the opportunity for those youths to interact with each other is limited.
We founded the International Development Youth Forum, in 2013, to provide the chance for youths with the interest in international development to meet each other, to know the situation in other countries, to share different ideas, and to create output for better society together. Through such experiences, we hope to establish special relationship that will continue in future.
We aim to create a better future based on diversified values and experiences of youth from both developed and developing countries. We aim to empower youth, who are to become the leaders of the future, by finding solutions to the problems of developing countries, through discussions with their peers from different backgrounds.
1. Build a sustainable network among youth who are interested in International Development
2. Provide opportunities for participants to embrace diversified values and acquire extensive knowledge
3. Accomplish realistic goals and bring about change to society
On September 25th in 2015, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted “to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all,“ indicating how we need to take an actions for SDGs as global citizens, and to develop solutions for our future. SDGs emphasize the importance of cooperation from governments and private sectors, regardless of the country's’ level of development or their interests. Thus, we believe it is important to coordinate the opportunity for young people with diversity to discuss global issues and shape our visions for future.
In order to accomplish the aforementioned objectives, IDYF is the appropriate forum to participate in. This year in 2017,
we commemorate the fifth anniversary after our first forum in 2012. We aim to create better future together, by sharing diverse values and experiences. Points below comprehends the two important
points in our forum;
1. To be concerned with global issues and have a sense of responsibility
2. To overcome value conflicts and cooperate together with people with different backgrounds and various values
Firstly, IDYF aims to offer the opportunity to share experiences, locally unique problems, and opinions about dilemmas involved in development. Every participant will be able to acquire new knowledge and perspectives not only from the media or books, but directly from other participants, which enable them to imagine what is happening in the other side of the world. Furthermore, IDYF aims to go beyond ‘recognizing’, and to reach to ‘solving’ global problems with collaborated ideas and deeper understanding of what made each person to think the way they do. As IDYF is where highly-motivated diverse young people gather to work out solutions for problems, we believe this opportunity makes every one of them to build on their understandings toward global issues and enjoy the fruits of heated discussions.
Since the foundation of IDYF in 2012, we have never stopped going beyond previous forums and challenges, although all participants and supporters make IDYF 2017 colorful and precious every year. All staff members show our best efforts to make the forum one of the most life-changing experiences for all participants. We cannot wait to meet with enthusiastic and passionate participants from all over the world next March!
Misaki Saito, Sayaka Tahara
Today, roughly 1.3 billion people on the earth, out of the total of 7 billion, live on the daily budget of below one dollar a day (that is, nearly one out of five live below the poverty line). As the 2015 deadline set for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaches, the scorecard on the MDG achievements is quite mixed among target categories and among geographical locations within the developing world. It is a duty for those of us who are fortunate enough to have access to education and other means to contribute to the collective effort to build a better world for all, either at the local, national or global level.
IDYF is still in its 5th year since it was established, but human network among its participants and alumni has been accumulating rapidly. I understand that this year’s program will focus on the fundamental question, “What is ‘development’?”, inviting participants to debate on what each of them conceives as an ‘ideal’ society. For those participants from outside Japan, in particular, what they see, discuss and learn through their interactions with Japanese participants and the Japanese society is likely to leave a profound impact for the rest of their lives, no matter what kind of career paths they happen to choose in the future.
Among others, a career in international development is an exciting and rewarding one. As you become a professional in the area of international development, you naturally interact with people with many different backgrounds, such as policy makers of all levels (local, national and international), academics, farmers, workers and laborers, and children. As exciting as those interactions are, they tend to be somewhat constrained by social contexts and social positions where we and they are in. As an academic specializing in development economics, for example, I interact with them as a policy advisor, an academic colleague, an interviewer during field research in an attempt to collect data to be analyzed and to be published in policy reports or academic journals, etc. In fact, it is not easy to interact with all those people free of such social contexts and truly on an equal footing.
Those friends who you initially met as a child or as a college classmate, prior to becoming a professional, are an exception, however. With those friends, you can interact as if you were still college classmates, largely free of social and professional contexts.
Academic knowledge, in any discipline, expands at an enormous speed. In the field of development economics, for example, there have been remarkable advances in theories and empirical evidence accumulated in the past decade. This means that the cutting-edge academic knowledge you learn at college may well become obsolete just 10 years after you graduate. On the other hand, the value of your personal networks and friends that you make at college will never depreciate for many years to come.
After some 30 years spent in the international development field since graduating from a university, I cannot overemphasize how important such friends are. As students, we used to debate about social problems and about how to tackle such challenges, often in idealistic (and, one might say, rather immature) terms. Those young days shared with my friends, however, installed in me an attitude towards life of not giving up the ideals and dreams in the face of harsh realities. To the extent that I have been able to persevere in my professional life, I owe it to those my friends at youth. Today, those friends are journalists, public servants, private businessmen, politicians, academics, housewives, and many more. When we meet, however, we still interact, debate and kid each other as if we were school classmates. Such interactions give not only fun time to refresh myself but also some new and fresh viewpoints and a moment to reconsider some of the views taken for granted within the narrow circle of professionals, enriching my professional life.
How exciting it would be to have such friends scattered all over the world for the rest of your life! Had IDYF existed 30 years ago when I was a college student, I would no doubt have joined the forum without hesitation.
Professor (Development Economics),
Graduate School of Public Policy, The University of Tokyo