Advancing Youth, Culture, and Sports: Highlights from STC-YCS4 Meetings

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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – The Africa YMCA recently embarked on a transformative journey to attend a series of vital meetings in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. These meetings, held on various dates, focused on youth, culture, and sports, providing a platform for key stakeholders to collaborate, share experiences, and develop strategies for the advancement of youth development in Africa.

Meeting 1: Youth Pre-Event Conference (18 May 2023)

The 4th Specialized Technical Committee (STC-YCS–4) on Youth, Culture, and Sports commenced under the theme "AU at 60: Unlocking and Scaling Innovation for AfCFTA Implementation Through Youth, Culture, and Sports." This meeting aimed to bring together senior officials, experts, and ministers from the fields of youth, culture, and sport to review progress, deliberate on the theme of the event, and formulate strategies and recommendations for the promotion of arts, culture, heritage, and sport as catalysts for youth development in Africa.

To complement the STC-YCS4, the Women, Gender, and Youth Directorate's Youth Division and the Office of the Youth Envoy organized a Youth Pre-STC Forum. This forum fostered peer-to-peer and inter-country learning, enabling young people and experts to share experiences, challenges, and best practices. Its objectives included identifying emerging priorities in the domains of education, employment, engagement, entrepreneurship, and health, while also encouraging dialogue and collaboration to address youth-related challenges through innovative solutions.

Meeting 2: Specialized Technical Committee on Youth, Culture, and Sport (STC-YCS4) Experts Meeting (22-24 May 2023)

The Experts Meeting, held under the auspices of STC-YCS4, commenced with welcoming remarks from the Director of the Women, Gender, and Youth Directorate. Discussions revolved around the theme "AU at 60: Unlocking and Scaling Innovation for AfCFTA Implementation Through Youth, Culture, and Sports." Experts deliberated on the crucial role of young people in promoting the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) through the arts, culture, heritage, and sport sectors as catalysts for economic growth in Africa.

The meeting also featured parallel sessions dedicated to the youth, culture, and sport sectors, encouraging focused discussions on pertinent issues. The adoption of the Experts' Meeting Report and other procedural matters ensured the smooth progress of the event. The closing session comprised closing remarks by the Acting Director of Social Development, Culture, and Sport and a closing statement by the representative of the Chairperson of the 4th Session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Youth, Culture, and Sport.

Meeting 3: Africa Day Celebration (25 May 2023)

On Africa Day, the Africa YMCA took the opportunity to celebrate the diversity, culture, and resilience of the African continent. Recognizing the significant role of young people in shaping the future, the Africa YMCA visited the YMCA Ethiopia offices in Addis Ababa. The purpose of this visit was to connect with colleagues and partners dedicated to improving the lives of young people in Ethiopia and across Africa.

The Africa YMCA remains committed to empowering youth by providing them with tools, skills, and opportunities to thrive and make positive impacts in their communities. Through various programs and initiatives, the Africa YMCA strives to unleash the potential of African youth, shaping a brighter future for the continent.

Meeting 4: Specialized Technical Committee on Youth, Culture, and Sport (STC-YCS4) Ministers Meeting (26 May 2023)

The opening session featured welcoming remarks from the Commissioner of Human Resources, Science, and Technology, the AUC Chairperson's Envoy on Youth, and the STC-YCS3 Bureau Chair. The panel discussion centered on unlocking and scaling innovation for AfCFTA implementation through youth, culture, and sports. Procedural matters included the election of the Bureau and the adoption of the agenda and program of work. The ministers considered the Experts' Meeting Report and the draft report and decisions of the Ministerial Meeting.

The Africa YMCA's active participation in the STC-YCS4 meetings in Addis Ababa demonstrated its commitment to youth empowerment, cultural promotion, and collaborative efforts in Africa. Through dialogue, sharing of best practices, and the development of key strategies, these meetings aimed to foster an enabling environment for youth development. The Africa YMCA's visit during Africa Day further emphasized its dedication to empowering young people and working towards a brighter future for Africa. The outcomes of these meetings will contribute to unlocking innovation and promoting youth-driven economic growth in the continent, advancing Africa's position in the global arena.

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