Youth con­fer­ence aims to con­trib­ute

Central Leader - - NEWS -

A con­fer­ence kick­ing off to­day is pre­dicted to draw more than 500 young peo­ple from around the re­gion to dis­cuss the well-be­ing of their com­mu­ni­ties.

The con­fer­ence is open to peo­ple aged be­tween 15-30 and is one of a se­ries of 114 youth con­fer­ences be­ing held world­wide over the next four months.

The events were ini­ti­ated by the Univer­sal House of Jus­tice, the gov­ern­ing body of the Baha’i Faith.

Luke Gib­son, 22, is look­ing for­ward to be part of a global move­ment call­ing on young peo­ple to fo­cus their en­ergy on bring­ing about con­struc­tive change in so­ci­ety.

‘‘It’s pretty amaz­ing to be part of this global en­deav­our,’’ the Hills­bor­ough res­i­dent says.

‘‘It’s an op­por­tu­nity to work with my peers and to in­flu­ence the for­tunes of hu­man­ity.’’

Mr Gib­son has al­ready been work­ing within his com­mu­nity to help young peo­ple de­velop an at­ti­tude of ser­vice and con­trib­ute pos­i­tively to their neigh­bour­hoods.

‘‘The best thing I like about this work is see­ing other co-or­di­na­tors I train go on to work in­de­pen­dently in their com­mu­nity, but I can ac­com­pany them and en­sure they are able to sus­tain their ac­tiv­i­ties.’’

Themes be­ing dis­cussed dur­ing the con­fer­ence in­clude the unique char­ac­ter­is­tics that dis­tin­guish the pe­riod of youth, the great re­spon­si­bil­ity fac­ing young peo­ple to con­trib­ute to the bet­ter­ment of so­ci­ety, and the im­por­tance of fos­ter­ing an en­vi­ron­ment of en­cour­age­ment.

Co-or­gan­iser Ali­son Shack­ell says one of the aims of the gath­er­ings is to en­gage youth in an ever-ex­pand­ing con­ver­sa­tion about the well­be­ing of their com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘The de­sire to bring about con­struc­tive change in so­ci­ety is the as­pi­ra­tion of many young peo­ple around the world,’’ she says.

‘‘The his­tor­i­cal con­tri­bu­tion of youth to the trans­for­ma­tion of so­ci­ety is well doc­u­mented.’’

The New Zealand Youth Con­fer­ence is on at Manukau’s Voda­fone Event Cen­tre un­til Sun­day.

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