Archive for the ‘Young People’ Category

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Dozens of Young People With ‘Emo’ Haircuts, Skinny Jeans Killed in Iraq


Saddam Hussein is gone, but Iraq remains a deeply conservative nation, and it seems that a haircut can get you killed. Apparently the emo scene is perceived as being gay; and the AP is reporting that as many as 58 Iraqis who were gay or believed to be gay have been killed in the last six weeks:

To Iraqis, Emo is widely synonymous with gay. John Drake, an Iraq specialist for the British-based AKE security consulting firm, said Iraqi Emos are getting their hair cut so they arent immediately identified, and therefore targeted, in the wake of the new threats.

On February 13, the Interior Ministry of Iraq declared that the phenomenon of emo to be Satanic. The goverment has decided that black clothes, skull-print T-shirts and nose rings are emblems of the devil. Its ironic that wearing funereal clothing with bones on it could mean actual death for a rebellious teen. An ugly death: The victims in question have been bludgeoned to death by militiamen smashing in their skulls with heavy cement blocks.

The New York Times tells the heartbreaking story of a 25-year-old young man named Mustafah, who was fired last week from a clothing store because his boss thought his clothing too effete. Now hes unemployed and living in fear.

What do you see about me that is so wrong? asked Mustafa, who said he was too afraid to allow his full name to be published. Im a normal guy. I wish I could die rather than live like this.

Emo and gay kids targeted, killed in Iraq [CBS News/AP]
Fear as death squads hunt Iraqs gays and emos [Reuters]
Over 50 emo youths reportedly killed by conservative militias in Iraq [NME]
Threats and Killings Striking Fear Among Young Iraqis, Including Gays [New York Times]

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Jobs for Young People are on the Rise


The latest unemployment report revealed good news for younger Americans: jobs for 25 to 34-year olds are on the rise. Were seeing some of those younger people getting more jobs right here in the Valley. The Labor Department reported, the unemployment rate for this group fell from 9-percent.

One local professor said college students are focusing on majors that train them for those jobs.

James Madison Univeristy finance professor, Pamela Drake studies these economic trends, and she said there could be a couple reasons.

For starters, Drake said young people are cheaper labor for employers; that means if youre a recent college graduate, youll accept a lower pay than those who are more experienced.

Drake said another reason is because they have advanced skills from college degrees. Before the recession, she said college students majored in a broad range of topics instead of focusing on learning one skill.

Now what people have figured out is that over time there has been a shift, where now you need to graduate with problem-solving skills, technical skills, and weve had more students go into those types of majors that prepare them for the workforce, said Drake.

Drake said certain majors have stayed steady through the recession. For instance, she said about half of the JMU students who are graduating with finance degrees already have jobs offers.

 Copyright 2012 WHSV / Gray Television Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Iain Duncan Smith urges X Factor boss Simon Cowell to give work experience to …


Iain Duncan Smith urges X Factor boss Simon Cowell to give work experience to jobless young people

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has asked Simon Cowell to offer
work experience to unemployed young people after a war of words between the
pair after the ministers criticism of X Factor culture.

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The Fertility Implosion


When you look at pictures from the Arab spring, you see these gigantic crowds of young men, and it confirms the impression that the Muslim Middle East has a gigantic youth bulge — hundreds of millions of young people with little to do. But that view is becoming obsolete. As Nicholas Eberstadt and Apoorva Shah of the American Enterprise Institute point out, over the past three decades, the Arab world has undergone a little noticed demographic implosion. Arab adults are having many fewer kids.

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Usually, high religious observance and low income go along with high birthrates. But, according to the United States Census Bureau, Iran now has a similar birth rate to New England — which is the least fertile region in the U.S.

The speed of the change is breathtaking. A woman in Oman today has 5.6 fewer babies than a woman in Oman 30 years ago. Morocco, Syria and Saudi Arabia have seen fertility-rate declines of nearly 60 percent, and in Iran it’s more than 70 percent. These are among the fastest declines in recorded history.

The Iranian regime is aware of how the rapidly aging population and the lack of young people entering the work force could lead to long-term decline. But there’s not much they have been able to do about it. Maybe Iranians are pessimistic about the future. Maybe Iranian parents just want smaller families.

As Eberstadt is careful to note, demographics is not necessarily destiny. You can have fast economic development with low fertility or high fertility (South Korea and Taiwan did it a few decades ago). But, over the long term, it’s better to have a growing work force, not one that’s shrinking compared with the number of retirees.

If you look around the world, you see many other nations facing demographic headwinds. If the 20th century was the century of the population explosion, the 21st century, as Eberstadt notes, is looking like the century of the fertility implosion.

Already, nearly half the world’s population lives in countries with birthrates below the replacement level. According to the Census Bureau, the total increase in global manpower between 2010 and 2030 will be just half the increase we experienced in the two decades that just ended. At the same time, according to work by the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis, the growth in educational attainment around the world is slowing.

This leads to what the writer Philip Longman has called the gray tsunami — a situation in which huge shares of the population are over 60 and small shares are under 30.

Some countries have it worse than others. Since the end of the Soviet Union, Russia has managed the trick of having low birthrates and high death rates. Russian life expectancy is basically the same as it was 50 years ago, and the nation’s population has declined by roughly six million since 1992.

Rapidly aging Japan has one of the worst demographic profiles, and most European profiles are famously grim. In China, long-term economic growth could face serious demographic restraints. The number of Chinese senior citizens is soaring by 3.7 percent year after year. By 2030, as Eberstadt notes, there will be many more older workers (ages 50-64) than younger workers (15-29). In 2010, there were almost twice as many younger ones. In a culture where there is low social trust outside the family, a generation of only children is giving birth to another generation of only children, which is bound to lead to deep social change.

Even the countries with healthier demographics are facing problems. India, for example, will continue to produce plenty of young workers. By 2030, according to the Vienna Institute of Demography, India will have 100 million relatively educated young men, compared with fewer than 75 million in China.

But India faces a regional challenge. Population growth is high in the northern parts of the country, where people tend to be poorer and less educated. Meanwhile, fertility rates in the southern parts of the country, where people are richer and better educated, are already below replacement levels.

The U.S. has long had higher birthrates than Japan and most European nations. The U.S. population is increasing at every age level, thanks in part to immigration. America is aging, but not as fast as other countries.

But even that is looking fragile. The 2010 census suggested that U.S. population growth is decelerating faster than many expected.

Besides, it’s probably wrong to see this as a demographic competition. American living standards will be hurt by an aging and less dynamic world, even if the U.S. does attract young workers.

For decades, people took dynamism and economic growth for granted and saw population growth as a problem. Now we’ve gone to the other extreme, and it’s clear that young people are the scarce resource. In the 21st century, the U.S. could be the slowly aging leader of a rapidly aging world.

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National youth arts companies need to cater for young people’s real passions


Darren Henleys recent review of cultural education was filled with ambition for a stronger focus on creativity and culture in our education system. Letting creative learning play a larger part in the curriculum is the only way to nurture our young people and help them develop as well-rounded individuals.

Creativity is an inherent part of childrens lives when they are growing up and we should not just forget it in favour of serious subjects. Devoting time to learning dance and drama is an excellent way for young people to express themselves, to keep healthy and to channel their energy into positive outlets.

Henleys recommendations are particularly important at a time when creative projects are suffering cut backs and the coalition government is attempting to limit opportunities to study dance in schools. Drama and dance are at risk of becoming mere subsidiaries to English and PE, and if we let that happen, many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds may never know the joy and the confidence boost of taking to the stage.

As artistic director of ZooNation Dance Company, I was particularly thrilled to learn about plans for a national youth dance company in Henleys recommendations. The potential such a company would have to bring dance to the lives of young people cannot be underestimated – it could bring together a whole new generation of young dancers. But we cant underestimate how much it matters what sort of dance company this will be.

If we sit back and let this new exciting venture become a miniature copy of the many classical and contemporary dance companies already out there, it will simply miss the point. The company, just like other recommendations in the Henley review, needs to reflect the passions of our young people.

Street and hip-hop dance are by far the most popular styles of dance among young people today, especially boys. In 2008, I set up the ZooNation Academy of Dance to create a nurturing environment where professional hip-hop dance training was made accessible to all, with scholarship places in addition to reasonable fees. We currently have 150 students aged between 4 and 21 who train with us weekly, travelling from all over the country, including Stoke, Brighton, Oxford, Manchester, Nottingham and London.

One particular student, Michael, we discovered in his local youth centre five years ago. He had the most extraordinary raw talent, which we have encouraged ever since and he has starred in the West End production Into the Hoods, danced for Nelson Mandela and Princess Anne, and appeared on numerous television shows, music videos and commercials.

As part of ZooNation Youth Company he will soon be dancing for the Queen and Barack Obama too. Michael was 11 when we found him and is one of the most uniquely talented and exciting young dancers I have ever encountered. But when I first met Michael, I could barely get two words out of him. He was painfully shy and withdrawn and found it hard to socialise with the other students.

The young man I work with today is chatty, funny, eloquent, smart and confident. I have witnessed firsthand with Michael and many other students the incredible impact dance can have on every aspect of a young persons development and wellbeing.

Both Into the Hoods and ZooNations latest production, Some Like it Hip-Hop, have drawn in crowds of young people who had never been to any kind of theatre performance before. We are creating work specifically for young people in order to engage with them and letting those young people watch, learn and perform the kind of dance they love is key to that engagment. Imposing the same old traditional dance styles is not.

Traditional dance forms, such as ballet, are out of reach for many young people and their families. With soaring ticket prices and expensive dance schools mostly located in affluent neighbourhoods, it is no wonder many young people are drawn in by street dance instead. If the new youth company concentrates on attracting young ballet and contemporary stars, they will risk side-lining people from disadvantaged communities and miss out on a wealth of talent while they are at it.

Just as we cannot allow our creativity and culture to fall prey to financial fears, we cannot let this fantastic idea fail to engage young people simply by ignoring what they are really passionate about. The national youth dance company must help make dance accessible for every child in the country, or there is simply no point having one.

Kate Prince is the artistic director of ZooNation Dance Company and an associate artist at Sadlers Wells – follow ZooNation on Twitter @ZooNationUK

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Essex young people dance their way to the London 2012 Games


Published: 12th March 2012 11:25

Essex young people dance their way to the London 2012 Games

Young people showcase their talents with Sparks Will Fly in Essex

Essex County Council has teamed up with Chelmsford Borough Council to proudly announce the arrival of Sparks will Fly in Essex. This will be the regions only cultural celebration of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games which will see communities from across the county taking part in one of the countrys biggest outdoor arts extravaganzas.

Created in partnership with internationally acclaimed outdoor performance specialists lsquo;Walk the Plank, Sparks will Fly will see two mythical champions, Marina Mightier and Boreas Zephyr, coming to Essex and competing to become the champion of the glass bead game.
So where does the dancing come in? Well, the champions will journey across the county in a number of daytime procession performances at locally created events from 18 May to 1 July 2012. To accompany Boreas and Marina throughout these precessions, Sparks will Fly has recruited young people from schools and community dance organisations from across Essex to take part in these once in a lifetime opportunities.

Dancers from Chelmer Valley High School and The Sandon School, Chelmsfordwill also be accompanying Marina when the Champions meet up for the finale of the glass bead game. Taking part in Hylands Park, Chelmsford, this event will also mark arrival of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay – with a carnival atmosphere, stunning pyrotechnics and special effects this is sure to be a breathtaking showdown.

To help the dancers learn those all important steps, carnival choreography sessions are taking place. Its not just about strutting those moves as a carnival make-up master class is also taking place to give dancers the know-how of applying carnival inspired make-up for those all important events. The make-up session will be led by an expert with 10 years of experience in carnival performance, costume making and as a make-up artist to help participants create stunning and effective make up to stand out from the crowd!

Members of the press are invited to attend a sneak preview event, where choreographers and dancers from across the county will gather to learn the official processional routine for the arrival of Boreas Zephyr. This will take place on Wednesday 14th March, between 4:30pm and 6:30pm at The Sandon School.

Essex County Councillor Jeremy Lucas, Cabinet Member for Environment and Culture said: Being a part of the one of the biggest events ever seen in Essex is a great opportunity and something that the participants will never forget. By taking part in the procession, young people will be playing an important role in the Countys contribution to the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Sparks will Fly is commissioned by Essex County Council and Chelmsford Borough Council and created by Walk the Plank working with localauthorities and communitiesthroughout Essex. The project has been awarded the London 2012 Inspire Mark and is supported by Arts Council England. The finale is part of the London 2012 Festival and is a free ticketed event.

To follow the journey and discover more visit

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‘Get our young people working’, says Longworth


British Chambers of Commerce director-general John Longworth has raised the issue of the younger generation being out of work as one he would like addressed by the next Budget.

Appearing on the BBCs On the Money podcast, he stated: It is hugely important that we get our young people working.

Mr Longworth went on: Were forecasting that youth unemployment of people below 25 will reach 25 per cent by the end of the year. A quarter of all those will be unemployed.

He described how he felt that the so-called youth contract should be increased to £2 billion, rather than the £1 billion at which it currently stands.

Out of work young people who are looking for career development would thus be able ‘to have access to the youth contract’ on a more universal scale, he said.

Aimed at those aged between 18 and 24, the contract will offer new work-based experiences, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Mr Longworth had been asked what any excess funds to be allocated by chancellor George Osborne in the Budget should be spent on.

As well as mentioning young people, he suggested: We want him to have a when its gone, its gone Capital Investment Fund of at least £1 billion, so that businesses who are prepared to invest are rewarded for that investment and are able to move forward creating jobs and growing their businesses.

In the short-term we want [Mr Osborne] to focus on some very specific measures which we think he can afford to do, he summarised.

Enhance your career with an institute qualification. 


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Analysts: GOP failing to reach young voters


Low turnout among youth voters for the Republican Super Tuesday primary contests suggests the GOP is making a major strategy misstep this year, analysts told the Colorado Independent. They said that Republican campaign messages to young people are mostly absent, weak or a turn-off and they called youth outreach efforts uninspired. They said the party looks to be continuing a disastrous trend sure to be exploited in the general election by President Obama, the man whose candidacy drew out young people as voters and volunteers in record numbers in 2008.

According to the Tufts University Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), only 5 percent of eligible voters under the age of 30 cast ballots in seven of Tuesday’s contests.

Working from exit polls, CIRCLE found that young voters in Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia distributed their support fairly evenly among the top three candidates. Ron Paul and Mitt Romney each garnered 88,000 votes. Rick Santorum pulled down 86,000 votes and Newt Gingrich trailed with 43,000 votes.

Although comparisons with statistics from past years is of limited value because turnout is tied to a host of factors, like what time of year the contest are being held and whether or not there’s a parallel primary being held among Democrats, Tufts researchers say the number this year is low.

CIRCLE Director Peter Levine said the numbers demonstrate that, for young people, it’s a close race but not a very thrilling one.

“Republicans have some work to do to build youth support,” he wrote in a release.

Abby Kiesa, CIRCLE youth coordinator and researcher, told the Colorado Independent that the underwhelming youth-voter stats should be viewed as a warning sign, not only for the 2012 presidential election, but also for future elections.

“Are the candidates making an effort to get young people to participate? Are they speaking to youth? I see very little of it. Yet research shows that, if you reach out to young people, they vote. It’s a big mistake to write off young people. Behavioral habits in politics develop early. That’s when people form their civic political identities.”

A yawning gap

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Defying Gen Y Stereotypes to Improve Volunteering Experience for Young People


A volunteer at the Greenslopes Private Hospital in Brisbane. Photo: supplied

Organisations need to move beyond traditional practices and listen to the opinions of young people in order to improve their experience and attract them to volunteering, a new report has found.

The Volunteering Queensland report, Young People as Volunteers, recommends ways in which companies can engage youth volunteers for activity and skills based volunteering, and identifies new approaches to volunteer roles through social media.

Volunteering Queensland says that the report, funded by the Queensland Government, challenges traditional views of young volunteers and paves the way for more meaningful engagement.

The report, which Volunteering Queensland says seeks to build on the findings of the 2010 report, Youth Leading Youth, details research findings, case studies and strategies organisations can implement to more effectively work together with a new generation of volunteers.

Jelenko Dragisic, chief executive of Volunteering Queensland, says the report is the first step in exploring how to enhance the quality of the experience young people have when volunteering.

What we learned during this research is that young people want their volunteering to be flexible but structured, professional with ownership and leadership opportunities, they want to use new technologies but value both online and social interactivity, and they want opportunities where they can really make an impact.

Volunteer involving organisations, government and peak bodies, ourselves included, need to change the way we run our volunteer projects and programs; we need to empower young people to be the designers of the way they want to volunteer, not design it for them, Dragisic said.

We cannot continue to define young people by homogenous Gen Y typecasts; we must appreciate their diversity and recognise the creativity, enthusiasm and innovative ideas they bring to volunteering.

The Young People as Volunteers report is part of a series of research Volunteering Queensland is conducting around innovative engagement in the volunteering space.

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Author Antwone Fisher aims his message at young people: 10 Minutes With …


Antwone Fisher is an award-winning screenwriter and producer and author of the best-selling memoir Finding Fish and Who Will Cry for the Little Boy? a collection of poetry. He grew up in the Cleveland foster-family system before joining the Navy, and his story was the basis for the 2002 film Antwone Fisher. He has just written and produced a play about his life. His current book is A Boy Should Know How to Tie a Tie and Other Lessons for Succeeding in Life. It has just been translated into Chinese. Fisher is married, has two daughters and lives in Los Angeles. He spoke with PDQs Michael Heaton.

What inspired you to write A Boy Should Know How to Tie a Tie?

My foster father had never taken the time to teach me the kinds of things that a father teaches a son. He, of course, was not my father, so he never taught me to shave or tie a tie. I knew there were lots of young men and young women who were not getting these basic lessons. I decided to write the book for the young people who are like me, without people to teach the essentials for success.

Who taught you how to tie a tie?

I learned in the Navy. It was my company commander who worked with me until I finally pulled it together.

Who is this book written for?

Young teens and adults everywhere can benefit from this book. The book is aimed at young people, including adults who, in a more relaxed environment, have not learned the basics of how to dress for an interview or that first impressions really matter. [Were] in a society where people put tattoos all over their bodies, including on their faces, without regard for the kind of job they will be able to get later in life. I discuss how the choices you make at a young age will affect you for the rest of your life, so you have to be discriminating should you one day want to run for senator, yet you put a tattoo on your face in solidarity with your favorite hip-hop artist from your teens.

You talk about Japanese culture. What did you learn there?

I learned that the Japanese are respectful people. They have a highly populated island so they learn to respect one anothers personal space. The Japanese are also a courteous society. I remember when I returned to America after living there, I still removed my shoes before entering a home and I washed my hands all the time. I dont know when I took on the culture, but when I was in Rome, you had to be Roman, and when in Japan, I became Japanese. Also, the idea of bowing was embarrassing at first, but later I discovered that I prefer bowing to shaking hands. Its more sanitary. I learned that your hands are your calling card. People can tell a lot about you from your hands, so if your nails are not manicured and moisturized, then there is a sense that the person is unclean.

What has the response to the book been like?

Fantastic. Its just now being printed in Chinese. President Clinton read the book and gave me a wonderful quote. Tavis Smiley did as well. There is a movement for adults to help young people get the information they may be missing. Schools and organizations give the book to young people as gifts, and single mothers write to me often to thank me for giving them the tools they need to help rear their children.

Do you wish you had this book when you were a kid?

I do. Its one of the reasons I wanted to write it. The idea of manicuring my nails did not seem manly when I was a boy. But, knowing that my hands and shoes should be well presented, people will give you a break on other things.

Do you think hip-hop culture has harmed kids?

Forty years ago, I am sure people my age were asked the same question about rock n roll. Every generation has a problem with the next generations music. Children and young adults have to make choices for themselves while still enjoying the music of their times. I am sure the pompadour hairstyle and the black leather jacket of the 1950s is akin to baggy pants and tattoos, but the tattoos are more permanent.

Has anyone accused the book of trying to get black kids to act white?

Not at all. Personal hygiene isnt limited to race. Wearing clothes properly isnt acting white. Washing your face and manicuring the nails isnt acting white. If someone were to ask me that, I would ignore them and keep giving the message I want young people to hear. My book is not limited to black kids or Hispanic kids; its for anyone who needs the help. The interesting thing is that the majority of mothers who write to me identify themselves as white.

Where were some of these basic social skills lost?

I think some were lost when younger people started having children and had not yet gained the simple lessons themselves. When people arent allowed to participate in mainstream society and they arent required to dress a certain way, the lessons are lost. Most children learn these things by dressing up for church, but many people, if they attend services, are not required to dress up for Sunday as children were required to do so in the past. Sunday best is a thing of the past. Our society has become more casual.

Where are the role models for kids today?

Everywhere — in schools, churches, stores, libraries. In my community, Mr. Hayward, the corner grocer when I was growing up in Cleveland, was the man who represented dignity and hard work. He trusted the children in the community, and we listened to him.

What do you struggle with in raising your two daughters?

Trying to provide a decent life and an education. I want them to be safe and sensible, and I want them to be watchers. They see things on television and hear them on the radio, and my wife and I have to filter out what is important and what will help them survive the mean streets.

What do you worry about as far as they are concerned?

I worry about the cost of college tuition. I hope that education is for everyone and not just for the elite.

Are you working on another book or movie?

I am writing a screenplay, and I have just finished a proposal for a book that will update my journey of self-discovery. Its what has happened since finding my family, working in Hollywood, and how I cope with my past. I am directing Antwone Fisher: A Play at UCLA. We run until March 17. My hope is to take the play around the country.

Tell me about your documentary film, This Life of Mine.

My documentary is about a 97-year-old man [Leon T. Garr] who has a third-grade education and contended with racism and illiteracy, yet he used the business skills that his father taught him to amass a fortune as a general contractor. He has a tremendous work ethic and believes that working for others will not bring you wealth and will not help your community. You must create your own business and not ask others for a job. This same man bought what would become the only African-American-owned national bank on the West Coast. Mr. Garr still drives himself (in a Bentley), and he still runs several businesses, but the lesson he wants to share is that how you are remembered in life is the most important thing.

What attracted you to this mans story?

I was attracted to his story because he doesnt believe there isnt anything he cant do even though he has endured racism and inequality and injustice. His attitude is that he will succeed.