6 Reasons to Participate in the International Solidarity Forum (Part I)

The International Solidarity Forum (ISF) has officially launched applications for its 16th edition, where certified WYA members will examine the theme “Good Governance and Human Flourishing”.

As an annual training hosted at the United Nations and the WYA headquarters in New York, this much awaited event brings together members from all over the world to participate in lectures and discussions on international policy debates like Maternal Health, Sustainable Development, and more.

In this series, we share the top reasons given by our alumni on why every WYA member should experience the International Solidarity Forum:

1) The chance to personally learn from masters of their field.

“It is one thing to read about it and research it, but it is a totally different new level when you meet people who have taken that to practice,” shares Balkis Chaabane, a Tunisian delegate who represented WYA Middle East in the 2018 ISF.

“The ISF provided a first-hand on experience, a chance to meet like-minded change makers and WYA members from all over the world. It most importantly allowed us to talk to professionals in the field, people who spent most of their lives working in favor of such solutions and promoting human dignity.” Balkis first came across WYA two years ago in her search to get involved with coalitions and NGOs that advocate for human dignity. Since successfully earning her CTP certification, WYA had always felt like home for Balkis. “That’s what made me stay! The quality of the trainings, the amazingly inspiring group of people, and the well-studied work they deliver is only a testimony for how great the WYA team is whatever the region in the world.”

As a former ISF delegate, Balkis shares that one of her fondest memories was the chance to visit the United Nations. “Coming from a small country like Tunisia, that is not an opportunity that you get daily, especially for an aspiring future diplomat like myself. It was great to see the place where I want to work. Definitely one of the greatest experiences!”


2) The opportunity to impact policy and culture

“My favorite ISF memory is the creation of (the) Declaration on Human Dignity and Bioethics. Participants were working on it for many hours. We were debating about appropriate and accurate ways to use every word, which we wanted to put in the Declaration. We were so passionate about the process, that we were even paying no mind to a snowstorm outside and pauses for rest,” muses Anna Kartoshkina, a Russian delegate representing the Europe region.

Indeed, drafting a declaration is no easy feat. A WYA Declaration, which promotes the dignity of the human person, is essential in the arena of international law and foreign diplomacy since it represents the voices of young people around the world. “I value this experience on the ground that it is the best way to show how different we are, and how we collaborate together by keeping the same beliefs and mission,” Anna emphasizes.

Since signing the WYA Charter last year, Anna has undergone the Certified Training Program and participated in the Emerging Leaders Conference before eventually becoming an ISF delegate. She likens the impact of young people to a famous saying from the chaos theory – When a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world, it can cause a hurricane in another part of the world. “The most important thing is showing your interest by getting involved even in a small (way), and an impact in the world will not take long.”

Not yet convinced to mark the International Solidarity Forum on your calendars? Well, we have more reasons for you on the 2nd installment of this series! Why not prepare your application in the meantime by clicking here?