Youth delegates from 30 countries participated in the 11th Annual Youth for Human Rights International Summit held in Brussels, Belgium, last month.
More than 200 delegates attended the event to learn more about human rights, specifically the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to inspire others to become advocates for tolerance and peace.
Approximately 60 youth delegates from around the world carried the flags of their country during the opening ceremony of the three-day summit. The countries included: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Cambodia, Canada, Colombia, Congo, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Liberia, Maldives, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, the Netherlands, Russia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Ukraine and the United States of America. The Vietnamese community also participated in the event.
Dr. Mary Shuttleworth, Founder and President of Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI), welcomed the guests, which included UN officials, human rights and religious leaders, NGOs, local community activists and the community at large.
The youth were addressed by speakers from several nations, including Bangladesh, Belgium, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Congo, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, Taiwan, Togo, Uganda, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Yemen.
Japanese guitarist and Koto player, Takatani Hideshi, opened the summit with an outstanding performance. He was followed by performers from Argentina, Belgium, France, India, Italy, the Netherlands and Taiwan.
One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of four Human Rights Hero Awards to delegations from Australia, Colombia, Mexico and Nepal for their work promoting Human Rights Education.
The summit included a full day peer-to-peer mentoring Human Rights Education Workshop, where the Youth Ambassadors shared their experiences and best practices with the new youth delegates to prepare them for greater expansion of their initiatives.
The summit closed with an Inter-Religious Conference for Peace, which included Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders.
“It was a very exciting experience to be part of an international summit bringing youth delegates from around the world to share, encourage and inspire global peace and tolerance,” said Daphne Magna, the Canadian Youth Delegate for Youth for Human Rights-Toronto.