MESSAGE FROM H.E. TAHA AYHAN, THE PRESIDENT OF THE ISLAMIC COOPERATION YOUTH FORUM
2020 was a year like no other, we witnessed life coming to a halt. The ongoing pandemic has affected us all and the youth of the OIC region and beyond have had to find innovative ways to continue with their studies and daily activities. ICYF was active throughout the year, carrying out an avalanche of projects and activities both online and on the ground with different stakeholders and key players for the betterment of our youth, who are the leaders of tomorrow.
This was quite a year, we learned the importance of health, family, communication, on and togetherness, and above all that we are all equal and vulnerable hence the need to work together in our efforts to defeat the pandemic as well as create a balanced atmosphere that works as a catalyst to speed up post-pandemic socio-economic growth and community development in all aspects. We implemented important measures in line with UN’s SDGs to bring the issues affecting our youth into the spotlight with the hope of transforming our communities and establishing youth-driven initiatives that will steer the prosperity of the OIC region to new possibilities.
Our activities throughout the year were remarkable, despite the pandemic acting as a hindrance, we managed to execute the majority of our planned and proposed initiatives using digital media which has helped us keep in touch with our loved ones and most importantly, you the youth. We achieved significant progress and attained goals that seemed almost impossible under the current difficulties the world is going through. As good as it may sound to have reached milestones amidst the pandemic that has paralyzed the world, I would like to remind you that none of these goals would have been achieved without your effort and input. We stand for the youth, with the youth, and report back to the youth on our progress whom we have taken an oath to serve. None of our projects would have reached fruition without your support and participation. I would like to urge the youth to continue their pursuit of knowledge and interest in science, technology, diplomacy, and community building to elevate not only their communities but the whole OIC region for the better of future generations to come.
During the year of 2020, ICYF has been very focused and also dynamic. This has been realized despite all the limitations of the COVID-19 Pandemic and its local and global effects. Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 Pandemic, ICYF transformed all its projects into online format. Since the beginning of 2020, ICYF has implemented 5 offline projects up until March 2020 in addition to 22 online projects during the 7 months period after the outbreak of the pandemic. ICYF also extended strategic partnerships and cooperation with international organizations in OIC Region and beyond. Within the modality of the implementation of the mentioned 27 projects, ICYF has effectively cooperated with 62 reputable partners including governmental and international institutions, national youth councils and non-governmental organizations.
In accordance with the priority strategy on leveraging ICYF’s institutional partnership capacity; Total number of bilateral cooperation agreement signed with parties have reached to 30 in which the counterpart organizations are the ministries, international institutions.
Throughout the year ICYF has expanded its international outreach in which 32,120 youth applied for the projects, 3,000 eligible youth participants selected to participate at ICYF initiatives. Furthermore, it should be here highlighted that total social media engagement of ICYF has reached to 5,437,362 unique youth at global level.
All of the data mentioned above is a considerable demonstration on ICYF’s leveraged function as effective international platform for the youth to showcase their skills and express themselves in a bid to foster international cooperation in the fields of youth policy, enhancing youth solidarity, fostering inter-cultural diversity and empowering the spirit of unity through the various programs and activities at global level.
On the other hand, ICYF has successfully prepared its strategic plan for the year 2021 in line with the OIC youth strategy, youth resolutions, goals of sustainable development (SDGs), and more importantly in the light of the problems facing youth organizations in the implementation process of our programs and the sustainable development goals. Within the framework of the 2021 Strategic Plan, which is structured on the basis of the outcomes of “State of Youth in OIC Member States” conducted by SESRIC in Cooperation with ICYF, 7 priority areas were identified to help leverage youth empowerment at the global level. These areas are recognized as the 7 ICYF pillars made in full compliance with the UN SDGs. Under those pillars, programs and activities, ICYF has implemented the following programs during 2020:
ICYF Implemented Projects from January 2020.
“Creating a platform for dialogue and active participation”
ICYF in partnership with the Ministries of Youth and Sport of member states of the OIC region organized “Special Edition Talks”. This series focused on the current issues that are affecting the globe. The youth were expected with finding diplomatic solutions and innovative ways to avert crises and solve problems facing the modern world. The series aim to bring the youth closer to decision-makers and key players in diplomacy. The Special Talks Edition (STE) sessions accumulated 228.907 views and a reach of 918.383 during the program. Diplomats, academicians, and experts were among the panelists who took part in the series to help the youth get a better perspective of the real world. The program hopes to attract an even wider reach this year with plans to include a wide selection of panelists from various backgrounds to enrich the minds of the youth.
Notable panelists include:
- H.E Mr. Ibrahim Kalın, Presidential Spokesperson of the Republic of Turkey, 7th April 2020
- H.E Mr. Ahmed Gaaloul, Minister of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Tunisia, 1st May 2020
- Dr. Nabeel Goheer, Assistant Secretary-General of Commonwealth, 7th May 2020
- H.E Mr. Arouana Modibo Toure, Minister of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Mali, 14th May 2020
- H.E Mr. Datu Ko Jaafar Ku Shaari, Secretary-General of D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation, 21st May 2020
- H.E. Mr. Damir Fattakhov, Minister of Youth Affairs of the Republic of Tatarstan, 25th June 2020
- Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, 18th September 2020
- Amb. Khazar Ibrahim, Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey, 23rd July 2020
Heads Up High Islamophobia
ICYF held the “Heads Up High Islamophobia” training between the 24th and the 26th of January 2020 in partnership with FEMYSO. The training targeted youth representatives from European Muslim minority communities who are already involved in or are interested in working on combating Islamophobia in their respective communities. The training was aimed at strengthening the capacity of the Muslim youth and community activists to help them solve the impacts of Islamophobia in their communities. The training was also aimed at promoting the understanding and sharing of best practices on helping victims of hate, crime and discrimination, building capacity in providing services to victims with trauma-related issues. Out of the 82 received applications 32 were selected and the selected participants took part in a total of 9 sessions filled with insightful and mind-opening teachings to help combat Islamophobia as well as its after-effects in their communities. The Heads-Up High Islamophobia sessions accumulated 3.841 Total Views, 3.434 Engagements, a Reach of 14.427, and 9.262 Impressions across social media.
International Muslim Intellectual Forum
“Creating a New Generation of Muslim Thinkers and Intellectuals”
The Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF) held the “International Muslim Intellectual Forum” which took place from the 22nd to the 23rd of February 2020 in partnership with Ibn Haldun University. The forum was an informative, independent platform for a new generation with innovative views and opinions of the new young Muslim intellectuals addressing the biggest challenges of our times to shape a better future. The Forum set to establish a vibrant intellectual platform on issues about today’s youth discourse in academia and society, re-defined and introduced new youth discourse that bridges the past and present while producing concrete perspectives and solutions to policymakers. Out of the 400 received applications 110 were selected. The forum consisted of 10 sessions and 2 workshops, as a result, ICYF was introduced to more than 110 participants from the OIC Member States and beyond. The program also saw the creation of the IMF website, where all the archives are held in addition to the academic research contributions published on the site. The International Muslim Intellectual Forum acquired 3.803 Engagements, 477 Views, 132.778 Reach, and 17.159 Impressions across social media platforms.
The Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF) executed the “OIC Intern Vision Training Program” on 1 February 2020 in partnership with SESRIC, ENSAR VAKFI, YTB. The Vision training was organized within the framework of the OIC Internship Program introduction and reaching out to international and local students in Turkey. In total,350 applications were received, the majority coming from the OIC Member States. The program consisted of 4 sessions each with a different theme and skillset. The OIC Intern Vision Program Generated 129 Views, 1.885 Engagements, and a Reach of 19.155 across social media.
“Bringing the world together through cooperation, unity, and diplomacy”
The Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF) successfully hosted the “Diplomacy Academy” From the 21st of February to – the 1st of May 2020. The Academy offered 9 weeks of academic seminars as well as training courses for local and international students studying in Istanbul in different scopes and interactive issues such as international relations, social and intercultural topics, and foreign policy strategies. The Academy brought together official representatives from government and non-governmental organizations, diplomats, politicians, journalists, and academicians from different backgrounds to share their knowledge and expertise with participants of the 110 registered applicants,79 attended resulting in a social media reach of 167.308,9.347 Engagements and 21.518 Impressions.
Baku International Volunteers Forum of Islamic Countries
“Training The Youth To Be of Service To The Community”
The Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF) organized the “International Youth Forum of Volunteers” in Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan, from the 26th - to the 29th of February 2020 in partnership with the ICYF- Eurasian Regional Center and the Ministry of Youth and Sport of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The forum aimed at promoting volunteerism, creating platforms for youth participation and service to the community. Out of 5592 received applications, 70 from 43 nations were accepted. The forum consisted of 6 Sessions and 2 workshops. The forum created a network of influencers and relevant authorities to create awareness and put the focus on the need for the youth to be educated on how they can help those in need.
Online Islamic Intellectual Heritage Sessions (SEASON 1)
“Taking you back in time to witness the glory and beauty of Islam’s impact on civilization and architecture”
We turned back the clocks back in time to revisit and relive history as we took a trip in time to understand and appreciate the value of heritage, culture, and civilization that Islam has had a huge impact upon. The program kicked off on the 12th of May 2020 and ended on the 10th of July. This series of sessions were organized to enhance the lack and present accurate knowledge about Islamic intellectual heritage and its vitality and the intellectual exchange between civilizations in the past.
Online Volunteering Training Program
ICYF in partnership with the Turkish Red Crescent, Global One, Launch Good, Medisina, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, UN Volunteers, Bevol, US State Department implemented the Online Volunteering Training Program between the 18th -31st of May which was aimed at addressing the values, scope, and motivation of volunteering, knowing the impact of volunteer activities on young people, to support a better understanding of the contribution of volunteering to the peace and development of Muslim young people. The program established a network among Muslim youth organizations for effective collaboration to find sustainable solutions during the pandemic crisis and humanitarian crises in the world. We received 622 applications in total from which 100 were accepted, 54 from the OIC Member States and 11 from Non - OIC Member States. The Online Volunteering Training generated 17.906 Total Views, a reach of 741.700, and 35.885 Impressions across social media.
Createst Contest with ICYF-ERC
The Eurasian Regional Center of ICYF (ICYF-ERC) in partnership with the Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF), Youth Advocacy Network (YAN) (Pakistan), Сәләт Берләшмәсе (Select Youth Movement, Tatarstan, RF), МК "Jas Otan'' Youth Organization (Kazakhstan) and Scheherazade Foundation (Romania) organized an online “CREATEST– Creativity” contest on June 7, 2020. The contest aimed at giving a chance to the talented minds of our youth to materialize their thoughts and ideas as well as to compete with one another in good deeds. “CREATEST” is a creativity contest that aims to inspire young people to generate innovative posters/banners to deliver strong social/civic messages to their communities or beyond.
Virtual Model OIC Program
“Young Volunteers Fighting Against Addiction” - 2nd Online Volunteering Training.
The Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF) conducted the online “Addiction Awareness Program” in collaboration with Green Crescent from the 8th to the 9th of July 2020. The program provided effective training content on combating addiction and dealing with addiction. The 2-day intensive training program composed of 16 sessions was attended by 100 young volunteers selected from 46 countries. The 2nd Online Volunteering Training, Young Volunteers Fighting Against Addiction generated 887,603 Live Views, 914,325 Engagements, 4,374 Reach, and 716 Impressions across social media.
Online Media Training Program
ICYF in partnership with Al Jazeera, TRT World, Daily Sabah, US State Department, Hamad Bin Khalid University, Global One held the online media training program from the 13th to the 30th of July. The training was designed to equip young people by developing contents-stories in a powerful way for being the voice of their communities. The program’s main aims were to empower youth participation in media and promote youth media participation in diverse communities. From 550 received applications 120 were selected from 52 OIC Member States. The Online Media Training Program generated 157.214 Live Views, 181.963 Engagements, and 19.078 Impressions on social media.
The Dhaka-OIC Youth Capital 2020 was launched online from Dhaka, The People's Republic of Bangladesh, on July 27, 2020. The inaugural event kicked off with a speech from the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina. The event hosted various state authorities, journalists, and program participants from 75 countries. The event was graced by the participation and presence of H.E. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen, Secretary-General, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), H.E. Azad Rahimov, Minister of Youth and Sport of the Republic of Azerbaijan, H.E. Dawda A Jallow, Justice Minister and Attorney General of Gambia, H.E. AK Abdul Momen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, H.E. Md Zahid Ahsan Russel, State Minister of Youth and Sports of Bangladesh and H.E. Md Akhter Hossain, Secretary of Youth and Sports Ministry of Bangladesh, H.E. Mr. Taha Ayhan, President of Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF) and other global leaders and dignitaries. The Dhaka OIC Youth Capital Inauguration Ceremony acquired 97.294 Live Views, 64.300 Engagements, 2.060 Impressions, and 2.257.400 total reach on social media.
Young Women Entrepreneurs as Drivers of SDGs
The Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF) held the “Young Women Entrepreneurs as Drivers of SDGs” jointly with the UNIDO Investment and Technology Promotion Office in Manama, the Kingdom of Bahrain, OIC institutions, and international institutions, between 14th -17th of September.
The 4-day initiative sought to boost cooperation with the OIC, Islamic Centre for Development of Trade, ISDB, SESRIC, ICDT, UN WOMEN, UNIDO ITPO Bahrain, UN SDG, Women Entrepreneur, FCEM, CSR, KADEM. The program focused on the role of young entrepreneurs as core benefactors, and benefactresses within sustainable development schemes. The program received 535 applicants of which 202 from 62 countries were accepted. The Young Women Entrepreneurs as Drivers of SDGs program acquired 6.134 Live Views, 207.000 Engagements, and 10.160 Impressions on Social Media.
Youth Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC – Virtual Summit
The Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF) held the “The Youth CFM (Council of Foreign Ministers)” in the period between 22th-27th November 2020. Youth CFM is a unique simulation version of the Council of Foreign Ministers of OIC. Having no analogies in the world, the conference took place as a virtual side event in the margins of the 47th Official Session of Council of Foreign Minister of Organization of Islamic Cooperation that was held on 27th-28th November 2020 in Niamey, Niger, it was supervised by ICYF, the representatives of the OIC General Secretariat and academicians, and supported in the organization by the participants, divided into delegations of heads of OIC Member States, and simulated the real-life CFM diplomatic module.150 young participants were selected to join the summit; 66 females and 84 males from 52 different countries. International young diplomats had an opportunity to influence real-world diplomacy by sending the resolution paper which was drafted by the young diplomats during the youth CFM to the 47th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers. The Youth Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC – Virtual Summit accumulated 205.536 Engagements 147.539 Views 260 across social media.
Strategies of Countering Violent Extremism 28 – 31 December 2020
ICYF in collaboration with SESRIC and IPRD Gov implemented successfully the Online Capacity Building Program on ‘’ Strategies of Countering Violent Extremism for 20 Religious Leaders from Libya which took place on 28 – 31 December 2020. The program was conducted by experts from Graduate Institute of International Development Studies in Geneva, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies and Qatar University.
Young Business Hub : Inspiring Stories 30 December 2020
ICYF economic empowerment initiative Young Business Hub (YBH) is organizing the “Inspiring Stories: Young Startups”, a two-month virtual program for young entrepreneurs to listen to influential startup stories from successful entrepreneurs. YBH invites all young entrepreneurs from the OIC world to join the “Inspiring Stories: Young Startups” program to meet with successful startups from OIC member states; share experience, listen to successful and inspirational stories of pioneer young entrepreneurs at a virtual meet-up platform. The program started in the 30th of December 2020 with the opening session and it will be held once a week until the end of February 2021.