International Youth Forum


I’m presenting on Wednesday at the reunion of the The International Youth Forum, invited by a former client-colleague, Ginger DaSilva from Radio Netherlands. This group, founded in 1947, was a ground-breaking initiative of the New York Herald Tribune.  Ginger is an esteemed alum. Fueled by post-WWII idealism, the newspaper and the Forum’s first director, journalist & war correspondent Helen Waller, took a UN-style approach to organizing young people from across the world. The idea was that, if seeds of understanding were planted in the youth, it would cultivate in them their common humanity and lead to a more peaceful and tolerant world. Participating countries selected chose one of their best and brightest to serve as their delegate who traveled to an annual gatherings (transportation free-of-charge, courtesy of Pan Am). In its heyday, round about 1959, it was quite prominent, with delegates participating in live, nationally televised debabes on world issues called “The World We Want.” By the ’70s, after churning out 900 young delegates, the organization died a natural death. Since the ’90’s the alumni get together from time to time, and this year, delegates from 30 countries will hunker down in Boston to exchange ideas and have some fun. The cast of characters at last night’s meet-greet-cocktail party was fascinating… a former UK Permanent Representative to NATO, the former head of Chinese culture for Iran (she was appointed by the Shah, and survived the transition), and a tea grower from India.