Global Opportunity Youth Network Hosts Inaugural Youth Convening

Courtesy of Bonfire Media Collective, LLC

As part of the Global Opportunity Youth Network (GOYN), the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions—and partners Prudential Financial, YouthBuild International, and the Global Development Incubator (GDI)—hosted the inaugural Global Opportunity Youth convening. The meeting was held December 3 – 7, 2018 at The Hive at Spring Point in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This week-long event brought together 24 young leaders between the ages of 18 and 30 from 12 countries around the world, including El Salvador, Haiti, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, United States, Kenya, South Africa, United Kingdom, Jordan, and India. The youth delegates, who are either disconnected from or recently connected to work and education, represented six different languages and came from a mixture of rural, urban, and First Nations low-income backgrounds. These youth delegates had the opportunity to share their experiences of work and leadership in their home countries and inform the design of a new global effort – the Global Opportunity Youth Network – that will support pathways for youth into decent work.

“There are over 350 million young people in the world today who are not connected to opportunities for training, school, or formal work. This challenge calls for urgent, organized action that must be informed by the lived experience of this global youth constituency,” said Tim Cross, president of YouthBuild International. “It was insightful hearing the analysis and ideas for action from the youth delegates, and we are excited to have launched a permanent network of global opportunity youth who will guide the work as we carry it forward in 2019.”

“We will go back with a lot of information and bring solutions to whatever problems we are facing in our countries and be the first ones to make a change,” said Mercy Ncumisa Matubatuba, youth delegate from South Africa. “I am excited to go back and make a change in my community.”

The Global Opportunity Youth Network will partner with communities around the world committed to advancing systemic efforts to support access to productive employment for opportunity youth. Through this network, communities will bring together government, business, education, nonprofit, and youth leaders in a local collaborative and create a shared blueprint for increasing jobs and livelihoods for opportunity youth.

“It was remarkable bringing these young people from across cultures and countries together for the first time,” said Jamie McAuliffe, Senior Fellow, Forum for Community Solutions. “Their aspirations and ideas will not only inform the design of the Global Opportunity Youth Network but will influence the creation of a longer-term global opportunity leadership pillar as a central component to network’s work.”

“It’s critical that youth are engaged in shaping the Global Opportunity Youth Network because pathways to economic security look different in every country,” said Sarah Keh, vice president, corporate giving at Prudential Financial. “This inaugural Global Youth Convening brought together individuals from 12 countries who shared their personal experiences and insights to help create and scale solutions for youth today. Prudential looks forward to continuing to engage youth in this network to have a meaningful impact for future generations.”

“This youth convening presented an important opportunity for us to understand the aspirations of young people when it comes to economic opportunities, and gave us a chance to enlist their energy and talents as we generate new commitments to address the global youth unemployment crisis in a more strategic, coordinated manner,” said Alice Gugelev, director at GDI. “Far too often youth employment initiatives are designed without genuine youth input and ownership – we want this network to be different, and we feel this input is critical to creating sustainable change for and with youth.”

Learn more about the Global Opportunity Youth Network here.

About the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions

The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions’ mission is to support community collaboration—including collective impact—that enables communities to effectively address their most pressing challenges. The Forum for Community Solutions works to accomplish this mission by pursuing four complementary strategies including: 1) building awareness by documenting and lifting up impactful strategies and stories of success; 2) mobilizing stakeholders through knowledge and network development; 3) removing barriers by advocating for effective policy; and 4) catalyzing investment by encouraging funder partnerships. For more information, please visit

About Prudential Financial, Inc.

Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader with more than $1.4 trillion of assets under management as of September 30, 2018, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit

About YouthBuild International

The mission of YouthBuild International (YBI) is to unleash the intelligence and positive energy of young people to transform their lives and rebuild their communities. YouthBuild International is building a global network of programs dedicated to reaching, inspiring, preparing and connecting unemployed young people to viable livelihood and leadership opportunities. In YouthBuild programs, young people acquire basic education, job readiness, technical training and leadership skills while building permanent community assets such as housing, community centers, schools, playgrounds and green infrastructure. YouthBuild was established in the United States 40 years ago and has expanded to 360 program sites in 44 states in the U.S. and in 22 other countries. For more information, visit

About the Global Development Incubator

The Global Development Incubator (GDI) is a non-profit that builds startups and partnerships to address some of the world’s toughest global development challenges. Visit to learn more.