Global Youth Assembly 2011: Our World. Our Water.

The human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity. It is a prerequisite for the realization of other human rights.” 
— UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UNCESCR)

From July 27-30th, 2011, the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human  Rights was proud to host the third biennial Ignite Change Now! Global Youth  Assembly at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.  With the  overarching theme focused on “OUR WORLD. OUR WATER.”, the Assembly aimed to create a space where  diverse youth could explore the multiple ways that water connected to human rights and the critical  issues that are facing our world and  communities. Leaving the Assembly, delegates would have tangible tools and strategies for taking action and making a positive impact on our local and global water resources and human rights.

Three hundred youth delegates from across Canada and from ten countries around the world had the unique opportunity to meet inspirational youth and engaged educators, activists, politicians and human rights defenders in an intimate setting. 

Throughout the program, delegates were exposed to a diversity of issues, perspectives and solutions to water crises around the world and in our own backyard.  With the incorporation of twenty minute innovative Ted-style talks, the content at the GYA doubled and delegates had the option of “building their own experience” as they could chose to learn more about the issues that mattered most to them.  Overall, eyes were opened to critical and largely unknown human rights issues of our day and delegates were exposed to different methods and philosophies for engagement – from arts to corporate social responsibility to service provision to advocacy.  

On the final day of programming, after spending an afternoon dialoguing in small groups with trained Lead Action Facilitators, all delegates developed action plans to address water issues in their community and shared their commitments during the closing ceremonies. They left feeling empowered to create change when they returned home and had a peer support network in place to share their experiences beyond the Assembly. 

To find out more about the event, and what to expect for GYA 2013, check out the complete program report here.

Download the lyrics to the GYA theme song, “Ignite Change Now!” by the GYA Collective, by clicking here.




Introducing “John Talks” – from GYA 2011

Kyle Murray addressed Consumer Social Responsibility 
Mohamed El Daly introduces the water concerns in Egypt 
Councillor Don Iveson shares Edmonton’s experience with water stewardship