Washington DC YouthForce
The Washington DC YouthForce will build on the key successes and lessons learned from previous YouthForces. The following is a brief description of tentative activities for the conference. Activities are also based on key niche areas of the coordinating organizations. In all activity planning and implementation, the YouthForce will collaborate with the IAC Youth Programme to ensure that the YouthForce is complementing and leveraging efforts to integrate youth-focused activities, issues, and leaders into the conference.
Engaging a Broad Constituency of Youth Leaders in the Development of YouthForce Activities
The coordinating organizations will reach out to other organizations in Washington, DC and around the world to ensure participation and collaboration of diverse youth constituencies leading up to and at the IAC. To this end, the coordinating organizations will establish a committee structure based on YouthForce activity themes, such as advocacy and media, the pre-conference, the pavilion, the reception, and the main conference. They will also be responsible for debriefing and reporting back to the YouthForce after the conference. Each committee will be co-chaired by a youth leader from one of the coordinating organizations and/or a volunteer from the committee.
Some opportunities to engage in the YouthForce will be provided on this website, to be hosted in collaboration with the Youth Programme, where young people will be able to post blogs and participate in a Facebook group and Twitter.
Advocating for and Nominating Youth for Strategic Leadership Positions
The coordinating organizations will work to advocate for and facilitate the nomination of young people for strategic leadership positions as opportunities arise leading up to the conference. These efforts will entail advocating for youth to be represented on plenaries, non-abstract driven sessions, and other such fora at the conference in order to ensure greater mainstreaming of youth perspectives on the conference agenda; sharing nomination opportunities for speaking and leadership roles through lists and new media; and mobilizing youth to submit bios and other information necessary for consideration of such speaking and leadership opportunities.
The YouthForce will work collaboratively with the IAC Youth Programme to conduct outreach to young people to promote scholarships opportunities to attend the conference and provide support in this process as appropriate. The Youth Programme and YouthForce will make a special effort to ensure representation of young people living with HIV and other young people representing key affected populations among scholarship recipients.
Building on the success from previous conferences, the YouthForce will develop and implement a pre-conference led by and for young people for approximately 200 youth that will provide essential information and skill based trainings on HIV/AIDS; trends within the global HIV/AIDS epidemic; youth-specific global HIV/AIDS issues and challenges; relevant programs, policies, and funding mechanisms; and advocacy and media. The pre-conference will also provide young people the opportunity to network and connect with their peers prior to the main conference. Finally, the pre-conference will provide participants with an orientation to the conference and the YouthForce advocacy messages in order to maximize their ability to navigate the conference and participate meaningfully and effectively.
A YouthForce reception will be held to provide a rallying point for young people, in celebration of their participation in the International AIDS Conference. In the past, high-level speakers, including performer Alicia Keys, Peter Piot, Stephen Lewis, Julieta Venegas, Miss Universe 2004, and Michel Sidibé, have addressed the youth leaders at the event.
The YouthForce will work collaboratively with the IAC Youth Programme to plan for and support a Youth Pavilion within the main Pavilion. The Pavilion will serve as a space for young people to share their work on HIV/AIDS issues, support youth delegates at the conference, and network with adult allies. Dynamic pavilion exhibits will demonstrate that young people—especially Young Key Affected Populations —are actively working toward solutions. Most importantly, the Youth Pavilion will provide a safe space for young people at the conference, as well as promotional space for youth organizations that cannot afford their own booths to showcase their work.
Advocacy Campaign and Communications
The Washington, DC YouthForce will continue the success of the advocacy campaign implemented during previous conferences. Prior to the conference, key messages and accompanying images will be developed through an e-consultation process reaching a diverse constituency of young people around the world. The resulting messages will be featured on t-shirts, and possibly other materials made available at the conference. In addition, YouthForce members will continue to be a strong force for the advocacy messages at sessions, plenaries, and other events by raising relevant youth HIV/AIDS issues. The YouthForce will also support media outreach to increase coverage of youth HIV/AIDS issues in the mainstream media and help facilitate connections between the media and youth delegates where possible and appropriate.
The Washington, DC YouthForce will work to facilitate linkages to the main conference by updating and disseminating a conference orientation guide for youth delegates and other tasks as needed that overlap with the main conference.