I never would have imagined that my 2010 summer in Egypt would change the trajectory of my life. However, my time there gave me critical exposure to social inequities in "Pre-Arab Spring" Cairo. It was there that I discovered my passion for social justice and the strength of global cooperation.
Six months later, it was at that same Tahrir Square that I passed every day in which thousands mobilized to demand change in what began the 25 January 2011 Revolution and Arab Spring of Egypt.
The truth is that young people around the world are becoming larger players in their societies. When we speak about global issues that we urge our international communities to address-- such as poverty alleviation, women's empowerment, access to education, and health equity--we cannot deny the role of young people in seeking change.
One of the biggest root issues that plague our global community is the lack of outlets that young people have to make their voice heard and create those changes. Local governments are not always doing the best job and aren't holding themselves accountable.
As a country and government, we can help create outlets for young people to raise their voices globally. We must invest in local NGOs and help develop civic society so that young people have channels to properly voice their concerns and demand systemic reforms from their local institutions.
The Arab Spring is a prime example of how active our youth is; oftentimes youth will take to the streets if they feel that they are not being heard. Young people are interconnected, multilingual, and globalized. Before our global community can tackle any issue on a larger level, we must look at ourselves and ensure that we are investing in local, youth-driven initiatives for change towards issues related to health, education, and economic opportunity. Young people have answers, and they can be part of the solution.