Panel 1: Youth Activism in the Time of COVID-19

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This is a moment of crisis in democracy, but also one in which young people around the world are meeting with passion, action, and activism. The pandemic has exacerbated long-held inequalities, and many governments around the world are consolidating power and weakening democracy and democratic norms. There may never have been a time which calls for youth activism more, but also in which youth activism is harder to actually execute. What does activism look like in pandemic? How are activists responding in a world in which in-person gatherings are limited and resources across the board run dry? How are they pushing back against repressive regimes?  On this panel, we hear from the innovators themselves.  What can organizers learn from their successes?  Are there any tools that have worked especially well for activists at this time?


  • Abdulrazaq Alkali

    Executive Director, Organization for Community Civic Engagement For over a decade, Alkali has directed projects that seek to enhance government transparency and accountability through advocacy for policy reforms, good governance, voter education, election monitoring, public oversight of government budgets, and the youth mobilization to take part in democratic process.
  • Mawa George Lazarous

    Co-founder and Executive Director, Community Empowerment for Rehabilitation and Development CEFoRD is a youth-led organization in South Sudan that is committed to empowering communities through participatory approaches that spark meaningful public debates on core democratic governance and development issues. With is team, Mawa focuses on creating spaces of engagement that influence change in policy and practice for the common good.
  • Griffen Saul

    Founder, We Are Able Saul founded We Are Able in 2016 in tribute to his father, Brad Saul. We Are Able is a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness and promoting empathy and acceptance for people with disabilities while educating the public on proper disability etiquette. The organization has engaged nearly a thousand students and corporations through its initiatives.
  • Sangita Shresthova

    Director of Research, Civic Paths Group, based at the University of Southern California Shresthova’s work focuses on intersections among online learning, popular culture, performance, new media, politics, and globalization. She is also one of the authors of Popular Culture and the Civic Imagination: Case Studies of Creative Change (2020) and of By Any Media Necessary: The New Activism of Youth (2016).