Author: Yunsun Chung-Shin
This paper attempts to reflect upon the framework, process, and outcomes of cultivating youth empowerment by working with the youth community in Dubai. The key question is “How might we understand the relationship between action and reflection in the context of youth empowerment?” Through our organization GYEM (Global Youth Empowerment) we employed relational system mapping to plan and manage youth teams and facilitator trainings. Design thinking provided a framework of learning and action for workshop content development. The system of action and reflection characterized our development process in learning and curating effective content. Our content strived for youth to gain creative confidence, find passion and purpose, and learn tools to implement their ideas to action. We define empowerment as a state in which youth are able to channel the energy within them through their passion onto the community around them. We found that empowerment was a by-product of our participants experiencing the framework of ME = WE. The notion that personal growth depends upon collective advancement and vice versa. Action was manifested through systems-based practical design thinking and real-world action. Reflection occurred through applying systems thinking and design thinking to global issues and exploring possible solutions. This paper seeks to understand youth perspectives on our workshop, youth empowerment, and the empowerment ecosystem by reflecting on GYEM’s workshop development and auxiliary activities.