The year marks the 10th anniversary of the Youth Initiative on Drug Use Prevention. With the opportune timing of International Youth Day (August 12th), UNODC organized an Alumni Reunion for Youth Forum participants from the last decade. Regardless of their current location and occupation, 39 youth alumni from 26 countries gathered on August 12th to reconnect and share their experience in drug use prevention and youth empowerment.
Driven by a great passion for meeting fellow changemakers in the field of substance use prevention, participants of the reunion came from the Youth Fora of 2012 to 2022. Some of them have become young professionals working on drug use prevention or in the public health sector, while some are studying or planning to study relevant subjects. Youth alumni came to the Reunion with the hopes of reconnecting with old friends, creating new connections with aspiring youth sharing the same passion, and seeing how their peers brought changes to their communities after the Youth Forum.
With a warm welcome for rejoining the youth community, participants were briefly introduced to recent updates about Youth Initiative. Then, youth alumni were sent into several rounds of breakout rooms, categorized based on answers to a pre-conducted survey. In these smaller groups, they freely made conversations to get to know each other, connect and share their passion and insights. As they’d been part of footsteps made in the past decade, youth alumni were also invited to share their ideas on approaching the next decade.
Since 2012, the UNODC Youth Forum has been a platform for youth around the world to meet, learn about evidence-based drug use prevention, and empower their peers and the next generation. We are proud to see many alumni interested in embarking on or continuing to make contributions to drug use prevention and health promotion in their communities. This reunion was a chance to reflect the past and bring new inspirations. Together, we look forward to a brighter future in the next decade.