Youth-IN Opens Door for St. Lucian Youth
“In a world that is falling apart at the seams, one thing is implicitly clear: this generation is unwilling to stand and let it happen without one hell of a fight. Music provides us with a universal language that transcends race, age, religion and culture. We want the musical to continue to bring together young people and cook up powerful recipes for change. A big change can start from the smallest of acts – recycling, car-pooling and even switching off the lights as you leave a room – all the simple things we can all do. We must never underestimate the power of the individual for the future we want, the future I want, the future we all need – it all starts with you.”
This is the message Erland George took away from his participation in “2050: The Future We Want” musical staged in Geneva, Switzerland at the UN’s Palais des Nations last September. It’s a message he continues to spread through his work with the Caribbean Youth Environment Network and National Youth Council in St. Lucia. The UNDP-funded experience profoundly changed Erland’s life.
- The “2050: The Future We Want” musical staged in Geneva, Switzerland at the UN’s Palais des Nations featured an international ensemble of young people between the ages of 18 and 25.
- The musical was produced to clearly demonstrate through the creative actions and insightful words of young people, how the world has reached a critical juncture, and that through real deeds we are still able to create a future capable of sustaining all people on Earth.
- UNDP, through Youth-Innovation: A Caribbean Network for Youth, supports youth participation in political and development processes.
“With the musical we got a chance to have our hand at putting the script together. We worked with young persons from around the world who came from different backgrounds and experiences. While I was the least theatrically experienced, I had been involved in a lot of youth issues and issues related to small island developing states.” In reflecting on the most significant benefit, he discussed the ways in which daunting development challenges were rendered personal through his interactions with the diverse cast. “There was a gentleman there from Syria; he had very impressive talent but I got to learn a lot about the crisis and struggles going on in Syria (it was at the time at the chemical attacks and he couldn’t get in touch with his family). Trying to understand the situation he was going through was something else entirely.”
This engagement did not end with the performance, but has sparked new projects and development endeavours. “I’m in touch with the majority of the members. One of the things that I’ve been passionate about is youth unemployment as it’s an escalating issue in St. Lucia. I’ve been working with a cast-mate from the Bahamas to exchange ideas and concepts. We’ve also been collaborating on an anti-bullying project. She’s currently running a campaign in the Bahamas and I’m taking her lessons learnt into consideration as I develop a proposal with my partners in the National Youth Council.”
As Erland’s global network expands, he continues to invest in opening doors for youth at home. After returning home he found that, “The participation in the musical gave [him] an opportunity to speak a lot about the performing arts. There are a lot of persons with interest but they don’t have a venue. [My engagement] has helped raise attention for fellow youth. Doors have just been opening and opening. If not for UNDP it would have been an unrealized dream.