This week, 26 youth leaders from 21 different countries will be meeting in Bangkok, Thailand for the first ever International Youth Drug Strategies Convening. The goal of the convening is to bring together some of the sharpest young minds in drug policy reform & human rights advocacy from around the world for a week of networking, skills-building, and capacity building workshops. Organizations represented in the training include SSDP, CSSDPSSDP UKYODAYouth RiseINPUDReverdeSerACEIDHelp Not HarmNZ Drug Foundation, and others. The event is being sponsored by the Open Society Foundation.

The participants of the convening are all young people under the age of 30 who are community leaders and passionate advocates for drug policies based on harm reduction and human rights. Half of the participants are from countries in the global south most affected by the global drug war, giving them a chance to return home and teach the lessons they learn this week to other members of their communities. The broad array of cultures and experiences present at the convening will foster an environment where participants can learn from each other while simultaneously brainstorming objectives to work on together over the next several years as a global youth coalition. This will be especially important as civil society organizations start preparing for the next big UN meeting on drugs in 2019, where the goals of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action will be evaluated.

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Thumbnail: Flickr CC Francisco Osorio