In my country, Morocco, 70% of the voters are between the ages of 18 to 25 years old. Therefore we young people have an enormous power - a chance to change the political, social and economic environment. In Morocco, young people are just starting to become aware of their influence; I think this is why the Arab Spring did not affect us like it did in Egypt.
The fact is that young people are not using their voting power. Is that because we are content with the current political situation? Or is this because we became complacent?
To answer the question, why they are not using their power at the ballot box, I first need to tell you why I am. My journey started when my uncle was working on a case trying to help a Moroccan refugee. The refugee died, and I still remember my uncle's anger and stress when he told the news to the rest of the family. I was 16 years old, and I swore to myself to try to do my best for the common good, to live the life of a dreamer, and to make real change on the ground.
And so I found a wonderful network of motivated young people around the world: Global Changemakers. It is run by the British Council, who are the UK's organisation for cultural relations - using the arts, the English language and education to build better links and understanding between Britain and the world. Global Changemakers is the name of their network of over 700 young social campaigners from all over the world. I joined three years ago and started working on a project which engages young people in the political life in Morocco. My project has a clear objective: to empower and motivate Moroccan youth to become politically aware.
As you focus more, and you push yourself to observe as closely as you can, you get to ask yourself: Why is there a lack of initiatives to make a change? Why is there a lack of getting together and working for the whole community? I believe it is simply a lack of motivation. I find that young people aren't excited about what is happening in their country, and certainly not about what is happening in the world. Therefore they do not want to work to bring about the improvement they desire. This reality isn't only present in a day to day life, but it's incarnate on different levels; politics not excluded!
So what is the key? In my experience, feeling part of a global network of people wanting to make a difference; going through the same struggles; facing the same challenges; made me a better person. I gained a sense of global issues and how much these are all interlinked. So it only makes sense to all work together on the solutions. And that is what I am doing this week at our annual Global Changemakers Global Youth Summit in London. We are 70 young people from 47 countries forging bonds that will continue when we go back to our countries and do our work on the ground. The outcome is a broadened horizon and practical tools to tackle issues like climate change, poverty, and in my case; youth participation (or rather, the lack of).
So the solution going forward could be as simple as possible and summed up in a single word: togetherness. Isn't this word powerful? Last year I was invited with five fellow Global Changemakers to participate in the World Economic Forum on the Middle East., The founder of the WEF, professor Klaus Schwab said to me: "I don't believe in Globalisation, but I do believe in 'togetherness'". These words really touched me. It gives me strength to keep working on engaging youth in Morocco. Just imagine if every young man and every young woman becomes aware of their ability to make a change. Just imagine.