Brooke Longhurst remembers studying the globe in her family’s living room as a child. Even at a young age, she was curious about the world outside her home in Port Perry, Ont., and interested in global issues. Now the first-year U of G student will have a chance to discuss issues from a global perspective with 1,000 other youth from 195 countries at the 2010 World Youth Congress (WYC) in Istanbul, Turkey.
“I’m very excited,” said Longhurst, who is doing a double major in international development and criminal justice and public policy. “This is a huge conference targeted at world youth activism, and it’s highly respected.”
Held every two years, WYC gives youth the opportunity to be active in global development and share ideas on how governments, the United Nations and development aid agencies can be most effective in eradicating poverty in a sustainable way. From July 31 to Aug. 13, delegates will take part in workshops and cultural events and spend five days working on one of several development projects in Turkey.
“It’s about bringing people together to try and make the world a better place,” says Longhurst. “I’m really hoping to learn more about the world and how we can connect on a global level to solve the issues we’re facing. The more people I meet from other parts of the world, the more I realize we are interconnected.”
Travelling abroad is nothing new to 19-year-old Longhurst. Her passion for activism has led her on a number of adventures across the globe. She attended the 2008 Civicus World Youth Assembly in Scotland and spent a month last summer in Kenya helping to build a girls’ school. She also travels annually to New York City as a member of the youth advisory board for Do Something, a youth-led organization focused on empowering and inspiring students to make a difference in their own communities.
This summer, she plans to start her own project giving free first-aid courses to people in rural aboriginal communities.
“I want to give what I can and, in turn, learn from them about their culture. I think it’s important that we travel to other parts of the world and share our talents and ways of life with each other.”