Allison's second story

Allison is working hard on her second story! Her first story, The Sisters’ Mind Connection, has been hugely popular and we imagine the next, which will be about migrant and refugee children, will be the same.

Allison has dedicated a lot of time already to preparing the next book for the Voices series, including field trips to meet a refugee community in Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico to learn about their lives.

 

Here is Allison with Elisa. Elisa García is originally from Spain. She is trained as a lawyer and specialized in international refugee law. Elisa took the plunge last year: she was approached at an academic conference by the Government of Tabasco and offered the job as founding director of Albergue Colibrí.

 

J. is 16 and is 5 months pregnant. She is from Honduras. Shy and guarded, she lightened up when Allison showed her her book and teared up when Hazel called her courageous.

We will never forget this day of intensive learning with brave refugee and migrant children. Thanks to UNICEF Mexico for organising this trip and to Elisa García and her wonderful team for hosting us for the day but most of all thanks to the amazing kids for sharing their stories, their heartache, their dreams and their smiles with us. The kids’ faces have been blurred as many of them are fleeing from violence but we keep each one of them etched in our conscience and our heart.

Kehkashan's news!

Kehkashan has kindly been in touch and let us know what she’s been up to since graduating from the Voices programme. She won the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2016 (huge congratulations!). She was also featured in a U2 concert in Toronto, Canada on 23rd June 2017, as part of a montage of inspirational women. Kehkashan was featured alongside amazing names such as Michelle Obama, bell hooks, and many more.

Kehkashan appears around 4:35, take a look!

You can see the show here

Jona David at the UNESCO GCED Forum

Jona David was invited by the Canadian Commission of UNESCO to give a keynote speech in a plenary at their Global Citizenship Education Forum last week. 

He received a standing ovation for his speech, and Jona and his three stories were very quickly adopted by the UNESCO Youth Commission!

Jona also had the opportunity to present the Hon. Catherine McKenna with a set of his newly published hard cover storybooks, and a full set of all of the children's books to Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.

A really informative and inspirational day - thank you from Voices of Future Generations to all at UNESCO, with special thanks to Lydia Ruprecht, for facilitating it!

 

Jona David meets the Hon Catherine McKenna and Walking Stick Bug!

‎Jona David, 11, UNESCO / VoFG Child Author, met the Hon Catherine McKenna, Canada's Minister of Environment and Climate Change, on Family Day at the Museum of Nature in Ottawa. The two served as a shared 'tree branch' for one of Canada's most fascinating insects, the Northern Walking Stick, and she asked about his work to raise awareness about the world's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through his eco-inventor boy books and public speaking, helping implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Jona is a resident of the Glebe in Minister McKenna's constituency, and active in local eco-societies and nature clubs, and his 3rd book, The Mechanical Chess Invention, will be launched on 11 March 2017 at 2pm in Kaleidoscope Kids' Bookstore (1018 Bank St, Ottawa).

Ying-Xuan Lai speaks at Taiwan Forum

Gold winning Child Author from Asia, Ying-Xuan Lai had a wonderful opportunity this month to speak at the Taiwanese "Children, Environment, and Sustainable Development Forum", with EQPF, which was a huge success. She presented her story "A Path to Life" alongside the other awarded Child Authors and their families.

Child Authors, pictured with Ying-Shih Hseih, VoFG Goodwill Ambassador for Asia

Internship Vacancy

JOB DESCRIPTION: SOCIAL MEDIA INTERN

Voices of Future Generations is seeking a social media intern to assist in taking ownership of a social media campaign to support primarily the launch of a book series and educational outreach programme, but more broadly the social media launch of a youth sustainability movement.

You’ll have the chance to give your input on and execute social media and video content, as well as suggest partnership ideas.

You’ll get to be a part of our team and play a big role in establishing and developing the social voice for our organisation. And, most importantly, you’ll get the opportunity to be part of an optimistic movement that believes in the power of youth as change makers for good.

 

WHO WE’RE LOOKING FOR

You’re currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate programme, or you have been involved in social media as a starter job. You are organised, motivated, and have excellent communication skills.

You have an active social presence and are very familiar with social media.

You are a writer.

You’re creative and ready to use your creativity to not only produce social media content, but to pitch and help work on ideas for videos, engagement ideas, and partnership initiatives as well - ones that could help raise awareness for the campaign and the movement.

You’re a multitasker, and can thrive in a not-for-profit where people often wear multiple hats.

You’re web-savvy.

You’re curious, and are excited to learn about things like influencer marketing and tracking content through Google Analytics.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Internalise campaign strategy, campaign audiences and become knowledgeable about the content assets that have already been produced.

Research comparative campaigns that support movements such as VoFG.

Itemise content assets and identify uses for social media for various audiences.

Identify gaps in content assets against goals of the campaign.

Draft social media content and execute on social channels.

Respond to mentions and proactively engage with users on behalf of the organisation.

Identify social influencers within audience sets that could be good “brand” partners and manage those relationships.

Regularly compile key performance metrics and provide insightful feedback in order to improve performance.

Assist with partnership efforts to amplify awareness of campaign.

 

This is a home-based/flexi-working position.

 

Please contact Global Programme Co-ordinator, Ruth Hanson: ruthemilyhanson at gmail dot com with a CV and covering letter.

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

Call for a new Child Author from North America/Europe

Are you aged between 8-12, or know someone who is? Do you love writing? Do you have dreams and ideas about the world you'd like to see? If so, you could be our next Child Author!

Children between the ages of 8 and 12 years of age, from North America or Europe, are invited to enter the Voices of Future Generation’s Children’s Book Series story writing contest.

Each entrant is invited to write a five-page story about children’s rights and sustainable development. Based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and one to three of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, the stories should creatively and imaginatively promote access to the rights enshrined in these instruments. Imaginative and creative stories based on a problem-solving child hero and lively colourful characters will be preferred. Importantly, the stories should be about the kind of future that the children would like to see.

All story entries should be typed using a font of size 12 and single spacing. Entries should be sent to the Voices of Future Generations International Commission, care of Dr Odeeth Lara, Senior Programme Officer, and Ms Ruth Hanson, Global Programme Coordinator, using email addresses: odtlara@gmail.com and ruthemilyhanson@gmail.com by 30th April 2017.

Please visit http://www.vofg.org/books/ to view winning entries of previous story writing contests, which have now been illustrated and published. These gold winning stories should serve as a guide to the kinds of stories that are being sought.

 

Mexico Events

The Voices of Future Generations initiative, under the delegation of UNESCO, ran events in México during December 2016. From 09-10 December, Voices of Future Generations Child Authors and UN Child Ambassadors of the Sustainable Development Goals were invited to participate in a number of ways at the COP13 Convention on Biological Diversity in Cancun. On 09 December, the children were asked to attend a side event hosted by the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN), where Jona David, one of the Child Authors shared his stories with an international network of youth individuals and organisations from all over the world, whose common goal is to prevent the loss of biodiversity. Youth representatives were very impressed, and it was wonderful to see the Voices initiative gather lots of interest.

Child Author Jona David (left) and Child UN SDG Ambassador Nico Cordonier-Gehring (right)

 

On 10 December the Child Authors launched their short film worldwide at the COP13 Convention. The children spoke confidently about how their work for the project relates to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goal agenda, and how they wish to engage other children to join them in working towards the future they wish to see. The film was met with rapturous applause, many thanks, and even a few tears, which is an indication of just how impactful it is. Our thanks go to the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law for hosting the children at the Biodiversity Law and Governance Day. Thanks, too, to Gabrielle Bacon of the Moore Foundation for all of her support in making the film a reality.

On 12 December, the Child Authors, as well as 75 children from schools in México City were invited to the Papalote Museo del Niño (the prestigious children’s museum in México City) for a day of learning about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. All children interacted brilliantly, offering their thoughts about how they can use their rights under this convention to make the world a better place for every child. They interacted with exhibits in the museum, relating them to various articles in the UN CRC, and thinking insightfully about the issues. The host committee, Marcela Orvañanos (Goodwill Ambassador for Latin America), Octavio Lievano and Hazel Gomez, along with the host Child Author from México, Allison Hazel Lievano-Gomez, and with the support of Christian Skoog, representative from UNICEF México, ensured a wonderful day. We are extremely grateful for all of their support.


On 13 December, the México host committee organised a day at the famous Museo Nacional de Antropología (National Anthropology Museum) of México. The Child Authors were invited to participate in special tours of Mayan and Aztec exhibits, with brilliant, knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides. Following the museum tour, a workshop was put on for the children, during which they engaged in traditional Mexican crafts. Many thanks to Alejandra Cervantes Mascareño, director of the museum, for hosting us. It was a truly enjoyable day.

Farewell to HE Judge CG Weeramantry

His Excellency Judge Christopher Gregory Weeramantry was an extraordinary and international inspiring jurist, an insightful scholar, a talented educator, a kind and gracious gentleman, and a deeply beloved mentor. He sadly passed away on 5th January 2017, surrounded by family and friends.

Judge Weeramantry was instrumental in the launch of the Voices of Future Generations initiative and one of our most passionate supporters. It is very hard to imagine him gone - he will be deeply missed and honoured by many.

His creativity, engagement and deep sense of responsibility, ethics and history were well known and deeply appreciated in this field. His vision, insight and dedication has made a lasting impression on international law, inspiring many young scholars and jurists to work towards peace, justice, and sustainable development. Across the world, and across generations, his works will be remembered and cherished. The Judge truly made a difference to our world, advancing peace, education and research, and reminding us of the spirit of the law, with our responsibilities towards the most vulnerable peoples and our Earth.

We are sending all our deepest condolences to the Judge’s wife, his children and grandchildren at this time, along with our respect for a life very, very well-lived.

New Child Authors from Asia

With the wonderful support of Goodwill Ambassador Ying-Shih Hsieh from Asia, along with support from his organisation EQPF, the International Commission have voted on a shortlist of stories and poems from the region. The competition entry was wonderful, with 985 excellent submissions from four countries.

The Gold winner is Ying-Xuan Lai (12) from Taiwan and New Zealand, with her book A Path to Life.

This is a brilliant, colourful story, special to Asia, communicating the special conditions of a beautiful place and species in Asia. It shows the clear vision of a child who is an outstanding writer, and is a fascinating starting development of a character and story plot that will appeal to global readers.

A Junior Gold Award was given to Meng-Hsin Cho (8) from Taiwan, with her book The White Dolphin. This poignant and meaningful story is a really lovely read. The story demonstrates an excellent understanding of the environmental problems in the oceans worldwide, and asks a very important question that all children and adults should be ready to answer.

Congratulations to both of these children!

Taiwan Environmental Education Dialogue (TEED) will launch this year's Children and Environmental Forum. At the event, the excellent stories of the Asian Child Authors will be shared on the TEED stage, along with other prestigious speakers devoted to the field. The event will be held on 11 February 2017. We are sure this will be truly inspirational for all.

 

Welcoming Marcela Orvananos

Marcela Orvañanos has joined the International Commission as the Voices of Future Generations Children’s Goodwill Ambassador for Latin America. Please join us all in warmly welcoming her to the initiative.

Both in the organised civil society environment and in the entrepreneurial world in the Americas, Marcela Orvañanos is an outstanding and highly recognized leader. A Mexican philanthropist, she is the founder of several social and humanitarian organisations in Mexico and in the United States. As an expert in professional training for fundraising and institutional development for the social sector, Marcela’s work has had a very positive influence on philanthropic activities, not only in Latin America but also in the United States. Being the founder of Procura, A.C., the most prestigious training institute for fundraising and institutional development in Mexico, an organisation that since its creation has trained over 25,000 individuals in Latin America, the Philippines and the United States, Marcela has been able to provide its graduates the capable and well developed skills required to allow them to establish their own organisations, in a professional, efficient and effective manner, to produce a higher impact on the community they serve.

Thanks to her devotion to ethical and consistent work, from the establishment of Procura to this date, Marcela has had an alliance with The Lilly School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. This alliance has given way to have the courses taught by Procura receive all the professional recognition that is necessary in the world of civil society.

During 2006, jointly with Alexis, her husband, Marcela established Qualitas of Life Foundation in the metropolitan area of the City of New York, a foundation devoted to teaching basic financial education courses to Hispanic families. In that same year, she established in Mexico City Fondo de Estrategia Social, A.C. (FES), whose mission is to invest private resources in causes promoting social investment.

She is also the founder of Fondea Asesorías, S.C., a corporation established in Mexico City in the year 2002, a consulting firm having as purpose to assist on the development of social impact projects, both for the public and the private sectors. Among its many clients we find Mexico’s Secretaría de Desarrollo Social and Secretaría de Educación Pública. She is a consultant on financial campaigns for Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) and Partido Acción Nacional (PAN), as well as for Fundación ACIR, Museo Horno 3, Fundación Nextel, Centro Mario Molina, Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA), Universidad Panamericana (UP), Instituto Panamericano de Alta Dirección de Empresa (IPADE) and Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey.

Marcela is presently the Chairperson for UNICEF’s Consulting Board in Mexico.

She was nominated to the Eisenhower Fellowship Award, and was also one of the finalist candidates to Avon’s Sacil Award, granted to the best entrepreneurial women. She received the Senior Fellowship Award at the Center of Philanthropy and Civil Society of the City University of New York (CUNY) Center whose Directive Board is chaired by her.

Among the academic and honorary awards received by Marcela, we find that she is a member of The Philanthropy Workshop (TPW) at the Rockefeller Foundation, has earned a certificate on Administrative Management and Fundraising for Nonprofit Organisations granted by The Lilly School of Philanthropy, and a certificate on Entrepreneurial Social Responsibility by Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. She also earned a Liberal Arts Degree from the The New School University in New York, where she graduated with honours, and she also received the Global Master of Arts Program (GMAP) degree at The School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts Fletcher School at Tufts University.

Besides being the Chairperson for Qualitas of Life Foundation in New York and a member of Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales, A.C. (COMEXI), Marcela’s efficiency and capabilities to advise organisations, has given her the opportunity to act as consultant for several institutions, such as Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey, Procura, A.C., Fundación CEDIC, A.C., Consejo de Audiencias de “A Favor de lo Mejor” A.C., the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University, and others. As the Mexico representative for The Lilly School of Philanthropy at the Indiana University, she has had an outstanding role promoting training, and since her life has been devoted to ethical fundraising, Marcela was awarded the Henry A. Rosso medal, that is the most prestigious award granted by this School.

In 2015, she was honoured by the Society of Foreign Consuls in New York, Inc. as a result of her exemplary and continuous work to empower members of the Hispanic communities in that city, and received the Circle of Mercy award granted by one of the most important community organisations in the City of New York, the Mercy Center, to show their appreciation for her creative energy and her generosity to the Latino community.

Marcela shares her family life with husband Alexis Eugenio Rovzar de la Torre, with whom she has four children: Marcela, Mónica, Mariana and Alexis. She now also has eight wonderful grandchildren who fill her life with joy.

Activities in South Africa

Between 7 and 10 November, a road-show exhibiting the titles in the Voices of Future Generation’s Children’s Book Series took place in South Africa.

Over 560 school children and their Principals received donations of all the published books in the series. These donations were preceded by in-depth discussions on the Voices initiative and the rights-conscious themes in each of the book titles. Various talks on the Voices mission to assist children all over the world to lead the way in promoting the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Post-2015 SDGs and the right to education and literacy globally also took place.

The children who received the book donations were very inspired by the series and enthused by their own potential to lead in the area of children’s rights and sustainable development. They were also excited to learn of the Voices of Future Generations Children’s Declaration on Children's Rights and Sustainable Development, the UN Child Ambassador for the SDGs programme, and the various inter-generational learning circles that children affiliated with Voices have led and attended at the UN Headquarters in New York and the House of Lords in London.

Some of the schools pledged to incorporate the books in the Voices of Future Generations Children’s Book Series into their English Literature and Creative Writing and Social Sciences curricula. 

 

Tyra in the Media Spotlight

We were delighted to see the article about Tyronah Sioni, author of 'The Visible Girls', published in Paradise magazine, the in-flight publication of Air Niugini, Papua New Guinea’s national airline. It is wonderful to see Tyra - Child Author with the Voices of Future Generations initiative and a UN Child Ambassador - highlighted as a child campaigner! In the article Tyra, age 10, talks about her wish to “make people aware of what’s happening in the world, so they can be alert and ready”. Tyra has many thoughts about how children can add their voices to the dialogue. Indeed, it was whilst she travelling to London to help contribute insightful and intelligent ideas to the 2016 Inter-generational Learning Circle at the Houses of Parliament that she learnt about her feature in the magazine.

The feature is a credit to Tyra, and her family and her goodwill ambassador, Melinda Manuel, for all of their support. Many congratulations!

 

Lupe in the Media Spotlight

On 14 July 2016, Lupe Va'ai, 12-year old Child Author representing Samoa/The Pacific Islands for the Voices of Future Generations initiative, was featured in The Samoan Observer newspaper.

The people of Samoa are so proud of Lupe, representing her small island on the "world stage", and we are too.

You can read the article here.

Lupe was also in the media spotlight with a guest appearance on the Pacific Beat show of Australian ABC Radio. In a beautifully edited piece, Lupe talked about her book 'The Voices of an Island', eloquently reading sections of it, and talking about her inspirations and her plans to write more stories following the adventures and initiatives of her main character Katalina. 

Jona David, Child Author, at the Perimeter Institute, Ontario

Jona David, whose children's books feature eco-science and innovation, enjoyed the most amazing 11th birthday experience ever: a personal tour of Canada’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario.

From the inviting welcome hall with images and equations covering the walls, to the ever-present chalkboards for maths and physics discussions and proofs, to the state-of-the-art lecture halls, library, and work spaces featuring modern architecture, natural light, pools of water for contemplation, and copies of Euclid casually left on coffee tables, Jona was in his element! It will be no surprise if quantum physics, general relativity, or gravitational waves appear in Jona's next books.

Jona David, 11, enjoying his birthday visit.

The informative and engaging visit, hosted by gracious guide Angela Robinson of the Institute’s External Relations & Public Affairs team, included an invitation, deeply appreciated, to engage in the Perimeter Public Lecture Series online, and to apply for the International Summer School for Young Physicists once he’s just a little bit older. All thanks are due to the Perimeter Institute for their world-changing work and kind welcome to a small author fascinated by science. In the spirit of sharing ideas and innovations, Jona has expressed his thanks for the tour with a gift of his autographed books for researchers to enjoy with their families.

Child Authors meet Mrs Mary Robinson

On 08 July 2016, child authors, goodwill ambassadors, and representatives from the Voices of Generations initiative and Bloomsbury Publishing assembled at the Landmark Hotel, London, to meet with Mrs Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and Founder and President of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice.

The child authors introduced themselves and presented Mrs Robinson with autographed copies of their books to Mrs Robinson who was inspired and thrilled by their work. Over dinner, the children engaged in an inspiring and engaging roundtable discussion with Mrs Robinson, about the issues addressed in their books and how they relate to the CRC and Post-2015 SDG’s. Conversation also turned to intergenerational equity and how this can be addressed and achieved.

A 2016 Future Generations Inspiration Award was presented by the child authors to Mary Robinson, to thank her for being an inspiring global mentor to both the children present, children around the world and for future generations, on whose behalf she campaigns for a better future.

 

Intergenerational Learning Circle, London

In the afternoon of 07 July 2016, a very special event jointly hosted by the Voices of Future Generations initiative and the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice was held at the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London. This intergenerational learning circle included Voices of Future Generations child authors from around the world, UN SDG Child Ambassadors and children from local schools who came together to share their ideas about how they would address the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and about the world they would like to see.

All of the children contributed brilliantly, offering their inspirational and insightful views on issues such as gender equality, climate change, human rights and access to education, amongst other deeply important topics. Several key themes emerged. The children present keenly emphasised the need for all children around the world know their rights, as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. They called for better recognition of their right to have a voice and to express their opinions. Working together was deemed crucial and the children appealed to adults for help and support in achieving their goals for building a better world. It was also overwhelmingly important to the children that all people should strive more for a sustainable world and less for beyond personal gain. As one of the children said, “once given a voice, we will speak, and once listened to, we will move forwards in the goal to give every child rights”.

A 2016 Future Generations Inspiration Award was presented to keynote speaker Professor Kirsten Sandberg by the child authors, in recognition and acknowledgement of the inspirational work she has done on the United Nations Committee to the Rights of the Child behalf of children globally.

Many thanks to Baroness Julie Smith of Newnham for being so instrumental in the hosting of the event. We also wish to thank Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, and Prof. Edith Brown-Weiss of Georgetown Law School for their inspiring speeches via video-link.

 

 

Book Launch at Bloomsbury Publishing

On 07 July 2016 UN Sustainable Development Goal Child Ambassadors, Goodwill Ambassadors and Child Authors met at Bloomsbury Publishing, London, for the launch of the seven books that currently comprise the Voices of Future Generations Children’s book series. The child authors presented their newly published storybooks with excitement and explained how their story plots and characters relate to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the SDGs.

 

 

The child authors, goodwill ambassadors and representatives from Bloomsbury Publishing signed an international partnership agreement to begin a special collaboration between the Voices of Future Generations children’s initiative and Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, a Nobel Prize winning and leading independent publisher with global reach. We are very excited about this partnership, which will promote children’s literacy, education, joy of discovery and learning about sustainability, children’s rights, the environment, social justice and the interests of future generations of our world.