Bellagio Center & Covenings/

What Inspires Youth to Take Action?

In the summer of 2017, The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center brought together a group of residents around the theme of “Youth as Agents of Transformative Change.” Participants hailed from eight different countries, representing academia, the private sector, civil society, activist organizations, and the arts including novelists, composers, and musicians. And while the focus of the residency was on the subject of youth, the residents themselves ranged in age from those in their 20s to those in their 70s—with every decade in between represented. Over the course of two and half weeks, residents engaged in a unique intergenerational discussion about what motivates and inspires youth, the challenges they face, and how people of all ages can collectively enable transformational change. This video highlights insights from the residency discussion about how frustration with the status quo is an important motivator leading youth to clamor for transformative change—if it’s harnessed productively. Young people have both a tremendous capacity to envision a better future and the energy to make that vision a reality. Bellagio Center residents discussed how a sense of injustice can be highly motivating for youth, but that unless older generations and the wider society are open and encouraging, that motivation can be too easily lost or misdirected.

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