Since June 2022, URI has organized monthly “Together Calls” focusing on particular topics and action areas. This month, the URI global community call focused on youth and their experiences of intergenerational solidarity, adopted from the UN’s theme for International Youth Day. Over 34 people from different URI regions participated in this call.
During the call, Sally Mahé shared a conversation she had with her 9-year-old grandson when she asked him to say one good thing about speaking with older people and one not-so-good thing. Her grandson said,
“The good thing is they tell good stories, and then the not-so-good thing is they pretend to listen, but they really don't.
Not everyone has what the English call 'the gift of the gab,’ sadly. On the train etc., people spend too much time on their phones and don't even bother seeing who is near them. We used to have spontaneous chats.” Morgana Sythove
These statements show the growing intergenerational gap. However, it also highlights the imperative need to bring the younger and older generations together, bridging the gap, encouraging intergenerational collaboration and solidarity, and amplifying the positive impact of young and older people collaborating.
Sarah Oliver, the URI Associate Director for Global programs, shared a story about her unique relationship with her boss, who believed in her potential and chose to nurture her.
This shows the critical role of older persons in inspiring, grooming, and nurturing young people to become the best they can be.
Vjekoslav Sage added to the call an amazing experience as they formed URI Europe. He mentioned that it was created by a group of people from different religions and ages working and enjoying together. Vkekoslav brought to the attention of participants that we are living in times of ageism, where people are defined by age. He encouraged URI to avoid this and continue working and learning together.
Participants had the opportunity to interact deeply during breakout rooms, where they shared stories of intergeneration solidarity, roses, and thorns. Together, they shared their commitments at the end of the call, and here are some of them.
“Yes, I will engage and listen.” Morgana Sythove
“Yes, I will try to become a good listener.” Liza
“Yes, I will be more intentional with my listening.” Tahirir Olinga
“Yes, I will listen to persons of all generations to cultivate greater understanding.” Nolly Raye
“Yes, I will invite the quiet voices to share their thoughts and ideas.” Lauren Van Ham
“Yes, I will continue cherishing relationships.” Vjekoslav Saje
“Yes, I will take the experience that I have today to share with my friends in Cambodia and make them smile.” Udom Seourn
URI believes in the potential of all young people and those in the golden age and is committed to working, learning, and changing together!