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  • Hello. My name is Felicia Sobhani.

  • I'm 15, and where am I from?

  • Good question.

  • I'm German, American, Persian

  • but I was born in Switzerland, moved to Slovakia

  • and now I'm currently living in Italy.

  • So, to answer the question

  • I simply consider myself a world citizen.

  • Today I would like to share with you

  • a question that has been on my mind for a long time.

  • Who is writing the future?

  • This past summer I attended

  • a youth conference in Washington DC.

  • The subject of the conference was

  • the role of youth in today's society.

  • I really didn't know what to expect from this conference

  • I did have my own opinions of what youth can achieve.

  • But what I experienced at this conference

  • just totally changed my mindset and views

  • on what youth can actually do and have the power to do.

  • This wasn't a conference of lectures talk talk talk listen listen.

  • It was more of an opportunity for youth to come together

  • to discuss and to create plans of social actions

  • and immediately implementing them.

  • And what I found amazing was

  • how the arts were really stressed

  • and how they were integrated

  • in practically every activity we did.

  • I vividly remember

  • I was walking down the hallway

  • and I saw a bunch of youth starting to jam out

  • and they started to drum spontaneously

  • and then a bunch of other youth started to improvise

  • and sang along to their rhythm while others started to dance

  • and in no time we were all involved in one way or another.

  • It was just amazing seeing the different creative expressions

  • and diverse ways that we had.

  • But above all if I had to choose one thing

  • that I loved most about the conference

  • were the people.

  • It was from them that

  • I just gained so much knowledge, inspiration, and skills.

  • And what I really loved about the conference

  • was how my friends and I, we had a common vision

  • a unified vision

  • to effect positive and lasting change

  • the kind of change that starts with the self

  • spreads to the family and community

  • and finally engulfs the entire globe.

  • By the end of the conference I could visualize

  • the potential of the world that we live in

  • a world characterized by collaboration, not competition

  • by justice, not corruption and by love, not hatred.

  • So why were all these conferences held for youth?

  • What makes youth so special?

  • The world that we live in today obviously has many problems.

  • I think we can all agree on that.

  • and we need to remember that these problems

  • were not caused by youth.

  • They were rather caused by the action

  • or should I say inaction of the older generations.

  • And yet ironically it is us youth that have to take the responsibility

  • to first stop these problems from growing further

  • and second to find solutions

  • to remedy the damages that they have a ready done.

  • So what I also would like to stress is

  • what really blows my mind, is that I was only one

  • out of the seven hundred youth at that event

  • and that I only attended one conference

  • out of the 114 youth conferences.

  • Some of these conferences were held in places I've never heard of

  • such as Antananarivo

  • or Kadugannawa. I'm not sure if I'm pronouncing that right.

  • So back to what I was saying...

  • How are we going to get to these solutions?

  • Us youth have to solve these problems that were caused by the older generations.

  • Well, global issues require global solutions

  • and global solutions require global thinking and guess what?

  • The past generations have been shaped by local, national

  • or at best regional level thinking.

  • They considered something solved

  • as long as it was in someone else's backyard.

  • Let's shift the nuclear waste to another country.

  • Problem solved. But this was the thinking of the past.

  • Today we live in a generation where we have our cell phones,

  • laptops, technology just surrounding us.

  • I'm sure some of you in the audience

  • have checked your phone at least once while I was talking.

  • And that's because we are globally connected.

  • Who understands this global connectivity the best? It is youth.

  • We youth are globally connected all the time

  • and we are the global thinkers of the future.

  • We can solve these problems that weren't caused by us

  • and the world challenges.

  • Now having said all this I would like to tell you a story.

  • This past summer I went to Baltimore where I go often

  • and a bunch of us youth

  • we decided to do a service project for our community.

  • What we really wanted to do, we decided to choose,

  • we chose this run-down neighborhood of Baltimore

  • which has a high rate of drug abuse and what we wanted to do is

  • we wanted to take the piece of land in their community

  • and change it into a community garden.

  • And our main focus was to involve the children of that time.

  • And that's exactly what we did.

  • We started this project and these kids would come every Saturday and Sunday

  • and they were just so excited with big smiles on their faces.

  • They were ready to get their hands dirty and plant seeds.

  • They were super excited for this, because it wasn't just a garden for anyone.

  • It was their garden. It was their community garden.

  • And it was amazing.

  • So what was great, it was a great success

  • because not only did they learn the importance of gardening

  • they also learned the importance of working together as a community.

  • The harvest time was coming closer and closer

  • and the excitement of these kids was just rising and increasing

  • and it was just uncontrollable. It was amazing.

  • But a week before the harvest day something unexpected happened.

  • The city workers had mowed down our entire community garden by accident

  • along with like the rest of the land.

  • I really didn't know how they could do that

  • because we had watermelons and sunflowers growing

  • but somehow they did manage to mow down the entire thing.

  • Us and the kids, we were just so devastated.

  • What were we going to do? All our work was just basically wasted.

  • What were we supposed to do?

  • Well, I'll tell you what we did.

  • We put down our shovels and hoses

  • and we reached for our cell phones instead and we started calling everyone we knew.

  • We started emailing our friends. We started calling our colleagues

  • and we started texting our family members and told them about this garden

  • and told them what had happened.

  • And the news was just spreading everywhere

  • that even the local TV station of Baltimore decided to air a segment on it.

  • They came to the demolished guarden. They interviewed the kids

  • and it was an amazing experience.

  • So what had happened, so many people heard about it that one day they all came

  • this large group came and gathered on the garden grounds

  • and we all together ensured the continuation of this project

  • and we started replanting the garden.

  • One of the people that came to this event

  • was the deputy mayor, which I found amazing

  • because not only did he apologize for the mistake, he himself

  • rolled up his sleeves and started replanting the garden.

  • He's a better gardener than myself.

  • So what had started as a small initiative by a small group of youth

  • had scaled up into a large community project.

  • It was a great experience, an example of showing you

  • how much youth and we can achieve as long as we keep believing

  • and as long as our power and energy is put into good use.

  • So at the same time I would like to stress

  • that society needs to reevaluate its perception of youth.

  • Society considers the youth as materialistic,

  • lazy, solely fun-seeking and irresponsible.

  • And yes, we can be that sometimes,

  • but that's because society stresses and encourages this.

  • Through the film industry, music industry and the media at large

  • we see the stereotypical image of the youth.

  • We need to fundamentally change that image.

  • We need to fundamentally change our estimation of youth,

  • because the youth are the global thinkers of our future

  • and they can solve the world's challenges.

  • So to conclude I would like to revisit the question in the title:

  • Who's writing our future?

  • I think by now we can all agree and confidently answer

  • that the future, its shape, its quality,

  • its potentials and promises

  • lie in the power of youth.

  • And today's youth --

  • I would like to send you a message.

  • Please, youth of today, and future youth,

  • like children that are going to become youth, please remember,

  • value the energy that rests inside of you,

  • because its amazing and it can be used for such good things.

  • But you have to be aware, because it can also cause a lot of damages.

  • And to the adults, I would like to say,

  • the next time when you see a youth,

  • please look again, but with different eyes,

  • because that youth standing in front of you

  • is potentially the light of the world.

  • Thank you

Hello. My name is Felicia Sobhani.

Subtitles and keywords

A2 BEG youth garden conference community started global

【TEDx】Who is writing the future? Felicia Sobhani at [email protected]

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    阿多賓   posted on 2014/04/24
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