Amplifying Young Voices on Key Global Topics


The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award launches the Spotlight Sessions – a series of virtual panel discussions led by young people on the topics that are important to us all.

At a time when young people have been disproportionately affected by the challenges and crises our world faces, they have also been amongst those standing front and center, driving change and developing solutions.

Through their individual Award programs, each participant has the opportunity to support causes that are important to them and volunteer to make a difference. To help amplify young people’s voices, we have launched the Spotlight Sessions, in partnership with Award USA and the Award in Canada.  At these virtual events, young people will debate some of the biggest crises facing humankind today, from climate change to parity and equality in accessing vital services; from mental health to employability; and they will discuss potential solutions to these issues.

The sessions will be hosted on Zoom Webinar and will balance a panel-led discussion with an opportunity for the audience to ask questions and contribute ideas. The first two events, Young People + Climate Action on November 4 at 2:00pm EST, and Young People + Mental Health on December 7 at 9:00am EST, will kick off the series.

To register your attendance at any of the sessions, visit We greatly look forward to welcoming you to join us in learning from young people’s voices throughout 2021 and 2022.

Global context:

Fifteen percent of the world’s population – some 1.2 billion people – are aged between 15 and 29. They will be the ones to see the impact of many of the challenges facing the world today.

Severe disruption to education infrastructure has led to many young people not being able to continue with their normal studies at school. Youth employment has been affected by the economic downturn, falling 8.7 per cent in 2020, compared with 3.7 per cent for adults. The pandemic has contributed greatly to challenges such as grief and loneliness and has helped expose a very real crisis in meeting mental health needs. Globally, more than one in seven adolescents aged 10–19 is estimated to live with a diagnosed mental disorder, whilst suicide is one of the top five causes of death for this age group.

And yet young people are often largely ignored when it comes to seeking solutions for many of the crises facing the world today.

We believe that listening to the voices of young people is more important than ever. As the world begins to recover from the effects of the pandemic, we believe there is a need to include young people in the creation of our collective future.

CEO of Award USA, Elizabeth Higgins-Beard, says: “As we support young people finding their purpose and place in the world, we also are here to listen to their voices.  We invite participation in this event series allowing us to gather young thought leaders on issues of universal concern.”

We would be delighted if you would join us and take part in these important debates. To register for the sessions, visit


The Award is a non-formal, experiential education and learning framework operating in more than 130 countries and territories around the world, through which young people can develop skills such as resilience, confidence and communication. It focuses on allowing young people to step outside of their comfort zone; to try, test and reassess new ways of doing things in new and unfamiliar settings. Through doing their Award therefore, young people can be empowered with not just the confidence but also the desire to create meaningful change; to find their purpose, passion and place in the world.

More information can be found at

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