The Results Are In: Winners Of The African Union (AU) Youth Challenge Contest Announced!!!

Oladoyin Oladspo July 03, 2011

The results are in, and we are excited! Face2Face Africa is happy to announce the winners of the AU Summit Contest- “The African Union wants To Hear From You.” The selection was made by Face2face Africa in consultation with the United Nations Economic Commission For Africa (UNECA): Human and Social Development Department.

Congratulations to Togolese American, Vanessa Adakou Ayivi, a Cultural Anthropology and Political Science major from Binghamton University, and Ghanaian American,  Emmanuel Agbeko Gamor, a Political Science and Photojournalism graduate of the University of Florida.

The Results Are In: Winners Of The African Union (AU) Youth Challenge Contest Announced!!!

UNECA partnered with Face2face Africa in creating awareness about the African Union Summit, which is focusing on youth empowerment this year. The summit began on June 23rd, 2011 and ended on July 1st, 2011.

Contestants were asked to submit their response to the following prompt: What Do You Think Is The Most Challenging Problem Facing the Youth of Africa Today and What Is The Best Solution?

In her submission, Vanessa Adakou Ayivi voices her opinion on how the lack of what she calls a "worldly education" has affected the African continent. With education as our liberating tool, she believes that we can all change the fate of Africa by promoting it in our various fields and with our respective talents.

Vanessa is now in her final year at Binghamton University, and is seeking a career in U.N peacekeeping operations and in the human rights field. Half Ghanaian and half Togolese, Vanessa hopes to create an international non-profit organization that will cater to the well being of all individuals, focusing specifically on poverty and human rights. After graduating college, she hopes to obtain her Masters degree in conflict management and peace studies or join the Peace Corps.

For his entry, Emmanuel Agbeko Gamor submitted a video stating that economic and political empowerment plays a key role in securing a brighter future for Africa. With an impressive reel of statistics and noteworthy facts, he connects incidents occurring amongst our youth today to the failures that we see in the continent. He believes the solution is education, but that we must go about in unconventional ways. Thus, we will teach our youth not just by the book or in the classroom but by the use of technology, positive media and by example. Born in Accra, Ghana, Emmanuel, runs a media firm called Media Afrika and is also the editor of The New Ghanaian, a Ghanaian newspaper. Already a radio-host and a journalist, he hopes to pursue a career in International Relations & African Development.

Congratulations again to our winners who are now officially Face2face Africa Ambassadors. It is a big privilege and an even bigger responsbility, but we know our winners are up for the challenge.

Their responsibilities will include representing the views of the general African youth population in future youth oreinted summits and conferences, and acting as the liaison between Face2face Africa and the youth of Africa with the goal of developing effective strategies on combating various youth related problems. Furthermore, our winners will get the oppurtunity to attend and speak at various community events that seek to engage the youth of Africa. They are also responsible for Selecting the African Youth Making A difference recipient, who will be awarded at the 2012 F.A.C.E List Awards.  Finally, Vanessa and Emmanuel will be acknowledged at the AU summit for their extraordinary submissions.

Congratulations Vanessa and Emmanuel!


Ayivi’s Submission:

The most challenging problem facing the youth of Africa today in my opinion is the lack of education. By education I don’t necessarily mean an education acquired from college, high school, or any other institutions of that nature. By education, I am focusing on what I call “worldly education” which allows one to open his/or her eyes to the current situations of the global community. I strongly believe that an educated mind “sets free.”

Once you know something, you are free to act upon it. You are free to voice your opinion; you are free to explore different avenues of opportunities to alter the world, in respect to the situation and conditions that you are living in. Whether abroad or in Africa, there is an existing liaison attaching our worlds together, which makes us a single entity. Our locations do not change our views of  “The African World.”  A world dictated by megalomania. A world opposed to grassroots and uprisings of the youth due to fear. A world blinded with greed and poverty and diseases and other inhumane conditions.

The African youth represents the future of Africa. If we all sit with our legs crossed and wait on others to exploit the resources offered by education and educated minds that have conquered the norms set by this created “African world”, then who will speak on our behalf? Who will cry for us? Who will fight for our freedom and our well-being if not education? And knowing so why don’t we join forces with “it”? Education is freedom. Being alert to your surroundings and knowing the current state of affairs of the world sets you free and it is through that freedom that we are able to make changes. Whether you choose to change the “African world” by becoming a government official, or media mogul, a lawyer, a peace activist or a singer, you must always rely on education.

You must be willing, to learn, get out of your comfort zone, voice your opinions, make a change, SPEAK! If something bothers you, CHANGE IT. PROTEST! Protest in any form you can. Write, sing, dance, speak, join the government to change and make laws. I believe the solution is not only obliterating fear form the heart of the youth, but also encouraging them at the same time to ACT. To teach them the pride and honor behind the task of fighting for a cause by any means necessary. By constantly reminding them to die for something they are passionate about, figuratively and literally.  The answer to the problem is summed up in one sentence “teach the youth to educate their minds and teach their hearts to overcome fear.


Gamor’s Submission (video):

Last Edited by: Updated: June 19, 2018


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