Mailing #5 New usual suspects
17 May 2019
Dear friend of Young in Prison,
Have you ever visited a high-level conference or summit? If you have, I am sure you know how these events can be great for new insights and connections. At the same time tough, they can host stuffy workshops with a group of usual suspects as participants - of which I sometimes am a part of and guilty too, I am afraid.
Colling at work during the World Justice Forum that was held from April 29 - May 2 2019 (Photo: The World Justice Project)
That is why we tried something new during the World Justice Forum
. The huge event in the Hague focused on ‘Justice for All’ - a topic close to our heart. On our guest list, we added a couple of unusual faces: members of our Youthlab, a programme for young experience experts to train and consult justice professionals. So in the midst of hundreds of policy and decision-makers - two young men made their first entrance at a high-level and international conference.
Youthlab member Colling joined me on stage as we presented the Youthlab as a finalist of the World Justice Challenge. Key to Colling’s story was not his personal or painful experiences, but his perspective as a consultant, making an impact using his professional skills. Malcolm, another member of the Youthlab, joined us later to engage in conversations with the professional crowd visiting our booth at the Expo of the forum.
As I watched Colling and Malcolm in action, I thought of how the Youthlab was established to foster a possibility, to believe in the strenghts of all young people. It is not to ignore the pain or trauma they have or have caused, but a deliberate focus to not be defined by it. I hope Malcolm and Colling demonstrated just that at the World Justice Forum, and that their unusual appearance will become more and more usual at important gatherings like this.
The coming months we look forward to preparing an all-record-breaking number of Urban Arts and Workshops in the summer, getting the results of our Life Stories pilot and returning to Kosovo for the first pre-release workshop with our new partners over there. Lots to look forward to!
Raoul Nolen (Director Young in Prison International)
also on behalf of Jaap van der Spek (Director Young in Prison the Netherlands)