CIFAL York to bring youth leaders, changemakers together to create SDG action plans at Congress

social and environmental justice featured image

By Elaine Smith

Congress 2023, hosted by York University and the Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences, is coming to campus in May and CIFAL York is leading an event that will start new conversations on achieving social and environmental justice.

The event’s theme, Reckonings and Re-Imaginings, explores ways of changing belief systems and imagining a radically different world that is safe, equitable and sustainable for all. York will offer an intriguing mix of programming throughout, focused on the arts and on community engagement and connections – that’s where CIFAL York comes in.

The centre’s Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee is organizing a community connection dialogue, under the leadership of Idil Boran, professor and associate director of CIFAL York, and Julia Satov, global director of diversity and inclusion at Litera, who serves as co-Chair of the committee. The event will bring together professionals from various sectors and community youth voices representing the Humber River-Black Creek Youth Council, and other youth groups in the Greater Toronto Area.

Idil Boran
Idil Boran

The community dialogue is titled “Climate change is not the change we want! Community connection dialogue between changemakers and youth leaders for inclusive social transformation.” The event will allow participants to “debate and co-design radical collaboration to accelerate credible and impactful implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030,” said Boran. “Invited professionals who are changemakers in their areas of practice, will make brief statements about how they champion EDI and the positive change they catalyze within their organizations and communities. Youth leaders will respond and debate with changemakers to co-create action plans for improving and scaling up implementation of social and environmental justice.”

The event aims to create a space for changemakers and community youth voices to brainstorm solutions for action on pressing problems that are identified in the discussion and debate.

“The needs of societies have become a powerful catalyst, not only as protests in streets or in conversations by the company water cooler, but as a reckoning that has fundamentally impacted emergent and established economies, global relations, and human capital,’’ said Satov.

“This event is about mobilizing all actors in society for social transformation and leaving no one behind in efforts to advance the SDGs,” said Boran. “We want to celebrate community members and youth leaders as impactful participants toward a sustainable future that offers quality education (SDG 4); climate action (SDG 13); good health and well-being (SDG 3); the reduction of inequality (SDG 10); sustainable cities (SDG 11); catalyzing gender equality and women’s empowerment (SDG 5); the inclusion of LGBTQIA2S+, and partnerships to achieve these goals (SDG 17). We plan to produce output of knowledge mobilization that can be used by stakeholders to advance change.”

CIFAL York is part of a global network of training centres focussed on knowledge-sharing, training, and capacity-building for leaders. It is affiliated with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in partnership with York Region.

This event is one of more than 50 open programs being offered by York at Congress 2023, happening between May 27 and June 2.

Register here to attend or find out how you can volunteer in a variety of roles to support Congress.