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| Thursday, April 24, 2014

State Dept. activist talks youth empowerment

About 30 AU students and faculty attended a lecture that focused on the important role that young people play in civil and political activity, given by a U.S. Department of State youth activist on Feb. 5. During her lecture, Zeenat Rahman, special advisor of global issues at the U.S. Department of State, recognized the role of youth as positive agents of change and elaborated on the State Department’s efforts to empower and elevate global youth initiatives. Over 50 percent of the world’s population is under the age of 30, a phenomenon commonly known as the “youth bulge,” according to Rahman. This large portion of the population is sometimes seen as a source of instability, Rahman said. Specifically, Rahman works closely with young Muslims to increase civic and political engagement by teaching them the skills and resources that they need to become leaders in their communities. The State Department’s purpose in addressing these issues is to help young people to be able to continue to play a significant role in civil engagements by fighting youth unemployment, helping youth find a productive outlet to make positive change and keeping them safe. The event was hosted by the Office of the University Chaplain and the Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church. “I think of young people as positive agents of change, as opposed to a threat,” Rahman said.