Monday, October 19, 2009

Youth activism summit collects impressive group of digital dissidents

Last week I attended the Alliance of Youth Movements summit in Mexico City - which brought together a great collection of young people who've been using various online tools to help promote human rights and social change in their countries. People who used twitter to fuel a revolution in Moldova; a young man who used Facebook to organize mass protests against the FARC in Columbia; and groups who've used YouTube to shed light on child soldiers in Uganda or document the election protests in Iran earlier this year.

The conference was a product of a fledgling nonprofit organization of the same name (AYM for short) which seeks to connect young activists around the world and help them learn from each other., whose co-founder Jason Liebman also started AYM a year and a half ago, organized the summit, and the State Department was heavily involved as well - Secretary Clinton even chimed in with a YouTube message to the activists assembled there:

YouTube and Google were sponsors of the event and we participated in a few panels - one on "viral video" brought together a great collection of experts (Levi Felix of, Liebman of Howcast, Kelly Niknejad of Tehran Bureau, and Ari Wallach, the creator of The Great Schlep) who all had great advice about how to use video to create change, and just generally how to get your content discovered in today's over-saturated online environment. Here's a clip of the panel; you can find more on the AYM hub.

AYM also just named a new executive director, David Nassar of Blue State Digital, to lead the organization moving forward. There aren't many organizations out there with the purpose and mission of AYM who have the ears of the same collection of tech companies that AYM does... we're looking forward to working with David and team as they use the network they've created to further our understanding of how platforms like YouTube can be used for social change.


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