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2018 Regional Youth Hackathon Report

This report summarizes the outcomes of the Regional Youth Hackathon that took place in ATÖLYE design studio and creative hub in Istanbul from 10 to 12 December 2018. The three-day sharing and learning experience gathered activists and young people representing regional youth networks and NGOs, who reflected on the complexities of building an inclusive and just world, and on strategies for overcoming stigma and discrimination to provide equal opportunities for all youth.

The event included networks of key populations and vulnerable groups from 16 countries, as well as representatives from UNFPA Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office and UNFPA Country Offices in Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Serbia, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.

The participants exchanged know-how across cultures and organizations during structured workshops, and provided support and feedback to their peers in more casual, intimate conversations. Participants all came together to shape a transdisciplinary innovation platform, and built a common framework for encouraging meaningful youth engagement and participation.

What were the highlights? Participants identified human connection and personal stories as a powerful tool for building empathy among diverse groups of people and overcoming discrimination. At the policy level, youth stressed the need for more resources in education and skill-building activities, and new intersectoral and political partnerships to promote employment and representation.

Youth participants emphasized the need for mobility and empowerment trainings which are created and provided by peers so that youth claims their decision-making capacity from an early age. While conventional ways of engaging with fellow youth, such as international networks and UN processes were mentioned, participants also recognized the potential of the internet and new technologies to break down societal barriers and broaden the youth engagement base.