iEARN is committed to
working with other organizations to create such structures
and procedures so that the 1 million young people who are
working together in our network on educational projects can immediately link with others in times of crisis.
the current human and property loss, brought to all of us by the
visually striking images on news broadcasts and the immediacy of
today ’s media, reminds us painfully that such devastation will
Amidst the suffering, I remain hopeful. My hope stems
from three developments evident at this event here in Japan.
Firstly, I am encouraged by the outpouring of concern expressed
around the world to build awareness of the causes of natural
disasters, including those that result from human activities on
There appears to
be a growing interest in what happens before, during and after
these incidents on the part of young people around the world.
Importantly, this is resulting in expanded educational programs
about natural disasters and how they are related in cause and
effect around the
world, regardless of the continent on which they occur.
This sense of a
global perspective on natural disasters,seeing them as impacting
humanity instead of one country ’s people is an important first
step to finding global solutions and action.
This leads me to my second reason for hope. Young
people around the world are moving beyond concern to a sincere
desire to take action, to work together in solidarity with each
other at times of natural disasters. Youth,including those
here in Japan and their colleagues in Iran, are planting trees,
helping raise funds for disaster relief, sending items of clothing
and pictures of friendship to affected youth—who will
then be brought into the community of active youth in times of the
tremendously important and is a powerful statement to adults that
young people can be
strong allies in the efforts to address and reduce the suffering
involved in natural disasters.
Such youth action does not happen on its own, which points out a
third reason for my hope: the connective power of technology
to mobilize attention and action in times of crisis. We have
seen this in iEARN, since 1989 when e-mail connected students in
the United States with peers
in Russia to come together to assist in the relief after the
devastating earthquake in Armenia that year.
raised enough funds to enable the Red Cross to build a new
children’s wing at a hospital in Yerevan. Today,
millions of young people are using the Internet,
radio and other new connective technologies to inform themselves
and each other and then to build a connected community of caring
and involved global citizens. Without these technologies,
this would not be possible. Without the technological
expertise of young people, it would not
happen as quickly or as forcefully.
I applaud the work that you have done and look to you and
other youth people around the world for leadership in the 21st
century as we come together to better understand and respond to
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