The International Year of Light became an important topic to the U.S. Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centers and Associations (USFUCA). USFUCA is the national body that oversees the presence of the United Nations cultural arm’s grassroots movement in the United States of America. USFUCA is part of the European and North American Federation of UNESCO Clubs (EFUCA), a non-governmental association which is a regional branch of the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centers and Associations (WFUCA). All branches pursues their objectives through five major programs: education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and communication and information. They contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.
It is the mission of USFUCA to empower local communities in their global missions. In addition USFUCA supports the activities of our members, providing them with a network and the support they might need or welcome. They organize projects and events having an international dimension, providing the necessary training and exchange of information, along with the notions of life-long learning. In cooperation with EFUCA and WFUCA, ensuring the attention of the local realities to the priorities of UNESCO, promoting and strengthening the world-wide network UNESCO.
The topic of light, light based technologies and how light has and will be used in many areas, is an essential topic in education. After all, the classroom itself has completely been reformed. How we educate has been taken to a new level. The International Year of Light focuses on the topic of light and light sciences and its applications; but it is the human curiosity that underlines the vision which brings light to the hearts of humanity. Through education, we have an opportunity to spark curiosity in the hearts and minds of youth around the globe. The voice of youth in the International Year of Light is fundamental. It is important that they have the understanding, be involved in discussion and have the opportunity to share their ideas and visions. Youth have the ability to connect with their generation as well as the ability to bridge with other generations. Youth bring fresh perspectives, new possibilities and effect positive change. Youth are our future and their voices are important to creating that future. “Today’s world presents future leaders with various challenges in the form of global security, public health, sustainable energy, economics, and science. These issues require unique and innovative solutions, and that is where the international youth competition sponsored by USFUCA and the World Genesis Foundation comes into play. This year’s topic, “The Year of Light,” will challenge young leaders to develop innovative applications of light. This competition will ultimately highlight the importance of including the voices and ideas of the youth in combating many of the world’s most pressing issues”, said Larry Harris, who has been actively involved in developing the competition.
The theme raises awareness supporting the mission and priorities of UNESCO. USFUCA wanted to support the global reach and awareness by making the International Year of Light its focus topic for the 2014/15 Worldwide UNESCO Club Youth Multimedia Competition. Mr. Guy Djoken, President of President of USFUCA, has invited youth from around the globe to participate to answer a question using any kind of multimedia which could include a video, essay, presentation, art work, poetry, music or another type of way to creatively answer the question. What kind of light-based innovation would you propose to promote sustainable development and meet the needs of a global challenge such as energy, education, agriculture, or health?
With the help of a team of 12 youth, including some of the winners from last year, we organized and shaped the competition in addition to creating education platforms for interactions, learning and discussion about the IYL 2015. With the support of organizations like UNESCO, World Genesis Foundation, the European Physical Society and others, the competition has been given a light. “The international youth competition sponsored by USFUCA and the World Genesis Foundation is an amazing opportunity to instigate youth innovation. Youth today are transforming the world for the better in all sectors: healthcare, education, agriculture, and countless others. This competition will help youth plan out their ideas of using light technology to counteract global issues, ultimately leading to individual projects being started,” said Raymond Dong, who has been actively involved in developing the competition.
We hope that this question sparks the curiosity of youth. We hope that they let their light shine in their ideas and visions; raising global awareness and creating a future of light.
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Heather Caton is the Secretary General of the U. S. Federation of Club Centers and Associations (USFUCA). She has been an organizer and participated in multiple project worldwide including, the Worldwide UNESCO Club Youth Multimedia Competition and the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centers and Associations 2014 International Conference and Executive Board Meeting hosted in New York City. Heather currently teaches health & wellness, art and psychology as an adjunct professor at Arizona Western College. Heather Caton’s formal academic studies includes a degree in Art Education with a focus in Psychology and a Masters in Social Work with a specialization in Creative Arts Therapy.