New youth academy awaits its students

01 Aug 2008

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The first step of a new academy for future leaders has been taken in Turkey.

New Horizons - On 4 July 2008, a protocol for the inauguration of the “Young Leaders’ Academy,” that aims to encourage the participation of Turkish youth into politics, was signed between Muammer Güler, İstanbul Governor Mahmood Ayub UNDP Turkey Resident Representative and Sezai Hazır, President of the Youth for Habitat Association,The “Young Leaders’ Academy” will develop the capacities of youth and allow them to participate more actively in the society.

It will provide youth with functional education and learning skills such as software training, entrepreneurship, leadership, communication skills, project management techniques, English language courses and cultural teachings on gender equality, human rights and climate change awareness thus contributing to the development and implementing of international youth policies. The overall aim of the academy is  to build a youth that is “able” thus increasing their capacity, including them in decision-making mechanisms, making them active solution finders, implementors and entrepreneurs. The academy has already started to accept applications and started its teachings.

In Turkey youth make up 18% of the total population of which 12 million are between the ages of 15-24. This number alone is larger than the total populations of many European countries. More importantly this figure brings along a great advantage of what is called a “window of demographic opportunity”. If this opportunity is used effectively, it could result in national benefits such as high employment and high growth rate.

According to UNDP Resident Representative Mahmood Ayub, Turkey could either hit the jackpot like Southeast Asia, having a successful economic growth due to well-prepared and educated youth or lag behind and sink into poverty and economic problems like Latin America. Unfortunately out of the 30% studying and 30% working youth, 40% of young people neither study nor work. Ayub warns that after 20 years Turkey will have an older population like the rest of the European countries and the window of demographic opportunity will close. It is therefore critical that Turkey starts to invest in its young people and says “youth is the background of the society”.

Youth for Habitat is an international youth network working in partnership with the United Nations. To receive more information please click here.