World Youth Alliance Africa hosted the first Dignity Forum at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in collaboration with the Kenya Model United Nations club of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa on Thursday 29th October 2015. This specific forum was themed Are Youth Today a Lost Generation? Fifty participants attended the forum, mostly students.
The Dignity Forum is designed as a space to have “Youth Conversations on Dignity Today” and is and developing public dialogue space at WYA Africa. This will be a continuing education through public dialogue aimed at a more dynamic discussion on the human person through the human dignity lens on contemporary topical issues affecting youth.
At the Forum, issues discussed ranged from the idea of human dignity, abortion, sexuality, relationships, and the search for meaning. Meaning is fundamental to young people, and many of them made actions in the hope of achieving meaning, and a sense of purpose.
An integral education was indispensable in enabling young people to flourish as persons. There indeed was need for an education on sexuality that affirmed human dignity, like the Fertility Education and Medical Management (FEMM) Program. There was also a need for life skills that spanned the formal education. It was clear that in Africa, there was emphasis on respect for culture and heritage, though this was sadly being affected by cross cultural linkages, and interactions, which often introduce alien practices.
Some contributions leading towards being able to spot lies that culture presents to us were made. An example was made that medicine sometimes tells a lie, especially in cases to do with when life begins, or with interventions that are holistic. As is affirmed at World Youth Alliance, life starts from conception and one has human dignity from this point on until natural death. In today’s world, it becomes important to be aware of the danger that statistics presents. We need to be open to question the data, because sometimes, agenda and special interests are hidden in this data and it can be difficult obtaining what is authentic. Furthermore, one needed to understand history, to better understand the world we live in today, and its unique challenges, since everything is related.
At the end of the day, the family was affirmed as the most important unit to educate our young people. It was affirmed that that family was the principal and primary educator, and the state in proposing education needed to respect the right of parents to educating their children. There was a correlation between good families and the persons that shape society. The idea of freedom spanned many discussions, and it was clear that an educating on freedom needed to be incorporated into the curricula of institutions.
We sincerely thank Kenya Model UN CUEA for the partnership, all our panelists for the day, and all who attended the event. Especially thanks to WYA Africa interns who were invaluable to enabling the event’s success.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to host a Dignity Forum at your institution.