International Youth Day: TAU Superheroes
The young students of the "Summer Youth University" in a mission for a better future.
The young students of the Summer Youth University were called for a special mission this year; As part of the WYRED project (netWorked Youth Research for Empowerment in the Digital society) - a cross-border European project funded by "Horizon 2020, Europe in a changing world" - they were asked to explore the future society, and - representing the young generation - point out dilemmas and issues that they will present as a challenge to local and global decision-makers.
The participants received a good luck greeting from Dr. Tal Soffer, head of The unit for technology and society foresight (TSF) at TAU, partner in the project.
The program began with a video clip - presented by an imaginary student from the year 2030, who described a pessimistic scenario of the future, wich required their immediate action in order to have a better future. The first phase was a journey of learning and researching various problems related to the current reality and the future of the Israeli society through tours and lectures in a variety of subjects: artificial intelligence, information society, economic gaps, cultural and social cleavages, inclusion and issues relating to sustainability and mega cities.
During the next phase, the students received practical tools that will enable them to learn different ways to express their opinions, engage large audiences and reach decision makers. This was done through lectures about social activity, lobbying, media workshops and more.
Summer Youth University is a project that enables high school students from Israel's geographic periphery to have an academic semester at Tel Aviv University. The participants in the program, who have a high potential for excellence in studies, are located with the help of high school principals from the north to the south. As such, they are a representative and fresh expression of the spectrum of voices of the younger generation in Israel. Tel-Aviv Youth University operates in the Tel Aviv University's School of Education. It is the largest, most innovative and comprehensive excellence center in Israel.
most of whom are the first generation for higher education in their family
Students can choose courses from the Faculty of Social Sciences: Introduction to Logic, Introduction to Sociology, Introduction to Psychology and Introduction to Political Thought. Personal mentors accompany them throughout their academic studies and help them cope with the learning material by developing and strengthening learning skills.
And the best part - the academic credit that students will accumulate will count as part of their BA degrees upon admission to academic institutions in the future!
More than 90% of graduates reach higher education, compared to 20% of students from the periphery who did not participate in the program.
From the words of a graduate of the program who also served as a social counselor in two cycles:
"I received a lot of tools in the project, I got the ability to read a long article, sometimes even in a foreign language, to translate it, understand it and analyze it, I studied whole courses in a variety of fields. I met new friends, and I made friends with people whom, without the project, I would have never met. I am religious, and through this program I met secular Jews, Arabs, Druze, new immigrants. I learned to know and respect the different, to be tolerant and to accept other points of view.
My parents and their brothers and sisters have no academic education. But they have the desire and hope that their children will have such an education. Therefore, when I arrived at the project, I perceived the university as a difficult and complex place where only a few could prosper. University was seen by me as the Everest.
By the end of the project, and especially after the project, I realized that with a lot of willpower and investment - even the Everest can be conquered!
The project gave me the understanding and confidence that a university is a place where I can see myself. Not only to survive but also to thrive - to succeed in getting good grades and to study entire courses of full-time students in the tenth grade."