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Last week, Susan Reichle—recently appointed to be IYF CEO starting January 2019—joined a distinguished panel at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The discussion centered on how—and why—the United States should actively contribute to the creation of environments worldwide that lead to robust job growth and a well-equipped workforce. The event marked the launch of the new CSIS report The Future of Global Stability: The World of Work in Developing Countries.
“Thanks to the Center for Strategic and International Studies,” Reichle said, “for bringing attention to the issues that impact young people around the world.”
While the report did not focus exclusively on youth, it highlighted the importance of youth unemployment as inextricably linked to global development issues broadly. Among many takeaways, here are three that emerged:
- In a connected world, distinctions between global and domestic issues often blur. The authors of the report assert that the United States—with an experienced, innovative private sector, diverse aid institutions, and an engaged NGO community—is uniquely capable of improving the state of job growth and economic stability in the developing world. Moreover, the report argues it is in the U.S. best interest, in terms of national security and economic prosperity, to do so. Many people who would benefit from active U.S. involvement "are potential future consumers of U.S. goods and services," the authors state. Moreover, when people find decent work they are more likely to feel a sense of belonging, community, and purpose—essential ingredients for stability.
- Big problems can’t be solved alone—real solutions require a collaborative ecosystem approach. Stressing the importance of forming multi-stakeholder alliances, the authors pay special attention to the potential for positive impact that exists when the private sector aligns with nonprofit organizations and other training institutions. For the private sector to play an active role, they must recognize the return on investment. The authors explain, “Aligning a social cause with an economic problem is an attractive proposition for companies that want positive exposure on these issues and are interested in taking actions that will ultimately benefit them as well.” They highlight entra21 and New Employment Opportunities (NEO) as examples of effective ecosystem-building. In Latin America and the Caribbean, these IYF initiatives positively impacted the employment prospects for hundreds of thousands of young people and dramatically improved the conversation and cooperation among all actors in the employment ecosystem.
- Don’t forget young people are partners in creating a stable, prosperous future. The Future of Global Stability is set against the all-too-familiar backdrop of statistics and facts about the crisis of global youth unemployment, such as the historically unprecedented youth population and the staggering number of young people not in employment, education, or training. This context is necessary, and the report provides a thorough overview; however, the report helpfully goes beyond data points to assert the inherent value of these individuals. “Young people can be assets, not just beneficiaries. They should have a seat at the table,” the authors write. Citing IYF's own Global Youth Wellbeing Index, they underscore the fact that, even when young people are living in situations not conducive to their wellbeing, they remain optimistic and enthusiastic about the future—including their economic futures.
To build a world like the one envisioned by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—one that is stable and prosperous for all—it’s critical to foster and facilitate youth potential in a way that includes them as contributors.
To learn more, read the full report and four accompanying case studies in The Future of Global Stability: The World of Work in Developing Countries or watch the recording of the report launch event.