An Initiative of the International Youth Foundation an initiative of the international youth foundation


1. What is YouthActionNet?

A program of the International Youth Foundation, YouthActionNet pursues a bold mission: to strengthen and scale up the impact of youth-led social ventures around the world. Through its local and global initiatives, YouthActionNet provides training, mentoring, funding, advocacy, and networking opportunities to social entrepreneurs, ages 18 to 29, who have pioneered solutions to urgent global challenges. Joining us are universities, foundations, corporations, government agencies, and individuals—all united in their support of young leaders whose innovations are changing the world—one community at a time.

2. What is the International Youth Foundation and why did it create YouthActionNet?

Founded in 1990, the International Youth Foundation (IYF) invests in the extraordinary potential of young people. IYF programs are catalysts for change that help youth learn, work, and lead. IYF is passionate in the belief that educated, employed, and engaged young people possess the power to solve the world’s toughest problems. IYF launched YouthActionNet in 2001 to support an emerging generation of young change-makers through strengthening their leadership capacity and the impact of their social change initiatives. Since then, many committed partners have joined in support of YouthActionNet’s mission.

3. Why YouthActionNet?

We believe that today’s youth are uniquely equipped to drive grassroots innovation. Young people—irrespective of where they live—possess a unique ability to look at old problems in new ways. Their energy and idealism propels them to take risks, to look beyond obstacles, and develop creative solutions to urgent problems. Locally and globally, youth are leading efforts to preserve the environment, advocate for human rights, curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, and encourage democratic participation. Yet even the most dedicated young change-makers often work in isolation, lacking the knowledge, skills, and resources that would enable them to maximize their contributions.

YouthActionNet works to strengthen the skills and increase the impact of today's young leaders. At no time in history has their potential impact been greater. Currently 1.2 billion young people are poised on verge of adulthood. How they grow and develop will greatly influence the future of our world. Through YouthActionNet, more and more young leaders are accessing the tools and resources to fully realize their visions of a better world.

4. What is the Laureate Global Fellowship and how can I apply?

Each year, YouthActionNet selects 20 young social entrepreneurs to participate in the Laureate Global Fellowship through a unique partnership between Laureate International Universities and the International Youth Foundation. Laureate Global Fellows are distinguished by their track records for success in achieving positive change in their communities, by their innovative approaches, and their ability to mobilize their peers and community members in support of their social change visions. Through the Fellowship, they receive: training and peer-to-peer learning opportunities at a week-long workshop; recognition for their efforts at an annual awards ceremony; and a robust package of yearlong support, including virtual learning, personalized coaching, and access to global advocacy and funding opportunities. For more information, visit our apply page and read testimonials from our alumni.

5. What is the YouthActionNet global network?

In 2006, YouthActionNet began pursuing an expansion strategy designed to take its unique leadership development model directly to the communities where young people are leading positive change. Through supporting the creation of national and regional institutes around the globe, YouthActionNet seeks to foster a new cadre of engaged young leaders and social entrepreneurs. Deeply rooted in the countries/regions where they operate, local institutes tailor their programming to meet the needs of local youth. Each offers a 10-12 month fellowship experience, networking opportunities, and financial and technical support, including mentoring. Young leaders also receive public recognition and participate in advocacy opportunities. Learn more about our global network of youth leadership institutes.

6. Are there ways to benefit from YouthActionNet beyond its Fellowship programs?

Yes! We encourage you to explore this website to learn more about YouthActionNet’s online resources, to connect with Fellows in different parts of the world, and to find out about about learning opportunities through our webinar series. Sign up to be included in our mailing list to receive our e-newsletter, which includes program updates and opportunities and events of interest to young change-makers around the globe.

7. Are there grants available through YouthActionNet?

To qualify for funding opportunities through YouthActionNet, you must first be selected for one of its Fellowship programs. Please visit the Global Network section of this website to learn about financial support offered by YouthActionNet institutes to local Fellows.

8. How will we know if we are successful?

A global community of young leaders will be working more effectively and achieving far greater impact because they are learning from each other and benefiting from the support of an expansive array of universities, foundations, companies, NGOs, government agencies, and individuals convened by YouthActionNet and its partners.

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