10 things you didn’t know about Amnesty International’s Global Youth Collective

Written by Anna Roguski, Global Youth Coordinator 

Our Global Youth Collective comprises of 15 innovative youth leaders and staff members from across Amnesty International’s movement. They work across five continents to bring thought leadership and youth perspectives to all aspects of Amnesty International's work, from governance to campaigning, policy development to advocacy.

But there’s more to these activists than meets the eye, as we recently discovered…

    1. THEY HAVE CREATIVE FLAIR
      The collective’s youth leaders bring creativity to their work, inside and outside of Amnesty. Karin, a youth leader from Chile, is studying design at university. Through illustration, she mixes her two passions by creating designs for campaigns in Spanish and English. As well as designing the Global Youth Collective’s logo, Karin’s work has featured on T-shirts, tote bags, stickers, as well as the cover page of a magazine about safe and legal abortion. Meanwhile Belinda, from Amnesty Ghana, uses her photojournalism skills to create short videos from Amnesty Ghana’s youth camps.

    2. THEY’RE FLUENT IN OVER 15 LANGUAGES
      Between them, the collective members speak over 15 languages. Pashtana, from Afghanistan, is fluent in six languages (Pashto, English, Dari, Farsi, Urdu and Hindi). Whilst Ikram, from Morocco, is fluent in English, French and Arabic – sometimes she finds herself speaking all three languages in one sentence.

    3. THEY WIN (UNEXPECTED!) AWARDS
      Manu, from the Philippines, won the ‘Tina head-Turner’ Award when he went in drag as Sister Stella – a fictional activist nun who fights for labour rights – to Amnesty Philippine’s solidarity night during their Annual General Meeting (AGM). And Shauna, from Amnesty Canada, recently won a bronze medal at the International Ice Dragon Boat Festival.

      Global Youth Collective Global Youth Collective
      L-R - top row: Shauna, Vibha, Sandra, Lehlogonolo, Jaime. L-R - middle row: Maria, Mariana, Manu, Karin, Ikram. L-R - bottom row: Pashtana, Gaurav, Christoph, Belinda, James.
    4. THEY TAKE ACTION INTO THEIR OWN HANDS
      Outside of work, study and activism, you’ll find members leading their own activism projects. James, from the UK, is passionate about climate justice and co-organised the physical occupation of an open case coal mine in his country. Mariana, from Portugal, is developing an online platform to both inform consumers about the impact of the fashion industry and to highlight sustainable alternatives.

    5. EXPLORATION AND ADVENTURE GETS THEM GOING
      After graduating from university, Christoph, from Germany, moved to Lima, Peru, where he joined local human rights groups. Meanwhile James, from the UK, spends a lot of time outdoors cycling. His favourite trip involved cycling across the Outer Hebrides, a collection of remote islands off the coast of Scotland.

    6. THEY CHAMPION WOMEN’S RIGHTS
      Not only does the collective have high female representation, its members are champions of the rights of women and girls. Lehlogonolo, from South Africa, spearheaded the campaign Worth Bleeding For, which called for free period products to be provided on campus at her university. After the Department of Women failed to take action, Lehlogonolo spoke out on national television. Sandra, from Kenya, says her activism began after she was elected chairperson of her university’s Anthropology Student Association, leading the first secretariat with a majority of women in a male-dominated political space.

      Amnesty International's Global Youth Collective logo Amnesty International's Global Youth Collective logo
    7. THEY ARE EXPERTS IN DIFFERENT FIELDS
      Yes, they know a lot about human rights, but they’re also experts in their own areas of study and work. Manu works in health tech developing low-cost biomedical devices to support the understaffed and overworked healthcare workforce. Meanwhile Jaime, from Hong Kong, is a law student, interested in strategic litigation.

    8. THEY BELIEVE IN DIVERSITY
      Members of the collective want to ensure young people, in all their diversity, are included at all levels of Amnesty’s work. Gaurav, a staff member with a youth brief from Nepal, recently travelled to a far-western region of Nepal and helped set up the first youth network of indigenous young people from the Tharu community, ensuring their voices are heard too.

    9. THEY REPRESENT AMNESTY GLOBALLY
      Members represent Amnesty at global events all over the world. In 2018, Vibha, from the USA, attended One Young World in the Netherlands where she facilitated a workshop and panel discussion on Human Rights Defenders. Meanwhile Christoph, from Germany, attended Global Perspectives in Berlin, and led an interactive workshop on inter-generational approaches.

    10. NOTHING WILL STOP THEM FROM STANDING UP FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
      Long journeys and commitment don’t phase our Global Youth Collective! Maria, a youth leader from Lebanon, spent an entire summer protesting with her best friend – she says it changed her life. Last year Karin, from Chile, encouraged a group of activists to travel hundreds of miles to the desert in the north of the country to join an activity organised by the Association of Relatives of Disappeared Detained People. They caught a flight for $25 and slept in the airport. Karin says it was one of the most amazing activist experiences she’s ever had.

For more information about the Global Youth Collective, please contact the Global Youth Team at youth@amnesty.org.

Global Youth Collective

The Amnesty International Global Youth Collective is a team of Amnesty International youth leaders (under 25 years old) and Amnesty staff with a youth brief from across the global movement who are champions for youth engagement and participation.