Knowing Global Youth has been designed to use a participatory action research approach in the process of creating a unique, intercultural course about young people in today’s modern world. We work directly with youth in the Global North and South and ask: “What do young people want a curriculum about youth to look like? How can we create unique learning opportunities for students of this program, and what do you want others to know and understand about your lived experience?” Knowing Global Youth has utilized the longstanding relationships that have been built between The Young Lives Research Lab and the Williche people of Chiloé, Chile. Led by Dr. Kate Tilleczek and Doctoral candidate Pablo Aranguiz Mesias, with critical guidance from Manuel Muñoz Millalonko and Ana Maria Olivera Fuentes, this project actively engaged Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth in a process of co-creating a youth-centered course that truly represents the lives and times young people today.
With its beginnings in Canada, where young people and teachers were engaged in a process of developing and piloting a unique curriculum about youth in the modern world, we expanded Knowing Global Youth through our connections with partners of the Wekimün School Project and the resulting Wekimün Chilkatuwe school. This school–in its concept, design, and content – was monumental in making strides towards meeting the educational, cultural, and emotional needs of young Williche people in Chile. We were very pleased to be able to further develop Knowing Global Youth alongside the Williche people and through the connections and experiences established through the Wekimün School Project.
By integrating the ideas, input and experiences of young people and educators in Canada (Global North) and Chile (Global South), this project represents an ongoing exploration of the coming together of “modern” and “traditional” knowledge. It examines what new knowledge –about wellbeing, sustainable development, environmental degradation, food security, and so forth– could provide to young people and their communities as we move into this rising era of the Anthropocene. Knowing Global Youth is a living curriculum; it has been designed for educators and anyone working with youth to give direction and initiate important conversations and modes of thinking. It is to be used as an adaptable tool based in the context and culture of the places and spaces where it’s being implemented, incorporating aspects of local and global politics, environment, current events, social and cultural movements and the wants and needs of those it is designed to engage and educate.