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October Marked the 2nd Annual International Youth Summit 2005

October 20, 2005

In October 2005, Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) held its 2nd Annual Youth Summit, organized by YRHI and the Human Rights Department of the Church of Scientology International. Delegates from 28 countries including Russia, Switzerland, India, Italy, China, Sri Lanka, Guyana and Sierra Leone participated in three days of educational seminars, workshops and presentations.

The first activity provided for the delegates was a public relations skills workshop, where the youth were coached on writing and public speaking skills. They put what they had learned into immediate use in a multi-faith service held at the Church of Scientology of Los Angeles, where several of the delegates spoke about their own religious convictions. The faiths represented included Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Scientology, Judaism and Sikhism.

Holding the summit in Los Angeles this year made it possible to take advantage of the Los Angeles Film School’s offer to host a seminar and film festival, inspired by LA Film School graduate and Youth For Human Rights member, Taron Lexton, and his award winning human rights music video, UNITED. Delegates learned how to use the medium of film to bring human rights issues to the attention of youth, governments and civil society. The 1st prize of the human rights film festival went to Nadine Cloete, one of the delegates from South Africa.

The youth summit itself was held at David Starr Jordan High School in Watts, California. The summit panel was comprised of the international team of youth delegates and representatives of Jordan High School--a school often torn by gang-related violence--who brought up their own concerns about the human rights issues that most affect them and their community. The panel members formulated and agreed on projects they will work on this year, covering human rights issues that affect youth everywhere.

The three-day summit culminated with a celebration of the life of Mahatma Gandhi and other great humanitarians of the 20st century, including Martin Luther King, Jr., L. Ron Hubbard and Nelson Mandela. Each was honored with a biographical reading and a slide presentation depicting their lives.

Church of Scientology International Human Rights Youth Coordinator, Tracie Morrow, said "The best thing about this summit is that it gave the delegates skills they really need. They will now be able to translate their enthusiasm into effective actions that will further human rights in their countries."

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