This past March, I had the privilege to spend a week with a group of Young Leaders (YLs) from around the world discussing the tenants of human rights and the fragility of freedom. I’d spent the previous six months leading up to the conference facilitating the YLs in dialog on various topics related to democracy and human rights around the world.
The YLs, selected from almost 500 applicants as this year’s Echenberg Fellows, spent 6 months in a private Facebook group debating the nuances of human rights, democracy, and freedom of expression using current events in South Sudan, Kenya, Mynmar, Turkey, Bolivia, and Canada to name a few, as the tentpoles for their arguments.
The Forum assembled 24 exceptional young leaders from across the globe to share ideas and experience, support and inspire each other, and engage with and learn from established world leaders in the field of human rights. These engaged and empowered leaders and activists join an existing network of over 75 Echenberg Fellows, all leading change and bringing benefit to individuals, societies, and the global community through broad human rights and grassroots initiatives.
During the same frigid week in Montreal, I worked closely with McGill staff, and our brilliant videographer Vlad Horondinca, to conceptualize, shoot, and edit an introductory video introducing the 2013 Young Leaders Forum. The whole process took place over a frantic 72 hours and I think it turned out pretty good.