International Polar Year Youth Steering Committee (IPY YSC)

Project Description
Short Title: IPY YSC
Project URL:
Proposal URL:
The International Polar Year YSC (IPY YSC) is being proposed to ensure that IPY's goals to include the next generation of polar researchers and the world's youth are met.

The IPY YSC would be made up of young representatives from around the world. They would be responsible for being the link from their home countries national YSC's to the IPY YSC as well as working on international initiatives. The concept for national level YSC's would be based on the successful model already developed in Canada and approved by Canada's IPY Steering Committee. The national YSC represents youth engaged in all forms of research within a country from science to social science as well as youth with indigenous and arts backgrounds. Youth from all levels of education (from high school through to the post-doc stage) would work together to bring IPY to the youth of that country. Each regional committee would be responsible for outreach within their country while the IPY YSC as a whole would undertake projects such as: providing a link to enhance international collaborations between young leaders and researchers, mentorship programs between youth and IPY researchers, getting youth involved in IPY programs, providing a webpage resource where interested parties could find out more about polar opportunities, encouraging a stronger focus on polar regions and the issues facing these areas and working to build a crucial bridge between the often disjointed Arctic and Antarctic researchers.

The IPY YSC would go beyond the goals of individual national YSC's and focus on projects more global in scope such as:

An International Youth Conference on the Poles (IYCP) that would take place during IPY (proposed for late August, 2008). This would bring together youth from a diverse set of backgrounds and nationalities to discuss the current issues facing our polar regions and their effects on the remainder of the planet, ways of addressing these issues and highlighting ongoing IPY research, especially research being undertaken by youth. Included within the conference would be break out sessions where youth could form policy recommendations, which would be brought forward to international bodies such as UNESCO, SCAR (Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research) and the Arctic Council. UNESCO has expressed interest in providing facilities for this conference.

-In collaboration with International Heliophysical Year (IHY)-IPY's IGY-Gold Program, connecting youth to the previous generations of polar researchers. Youth would interview IGY participants for a fresh perspective on their experiences and develop these interviews into documentary or book form.

-Establish an International YSC website focused on how to get youth involved. Include an education centre where youth can educate themselves about polar issues and then download materials to educate their peers and communities. The website would provide information on how youth can get directly involved in IPY projects (i.e. as graduate students, field assistants, volunteers, guest lecturers etc) and also provide guidance on how to get involved with the IPY YSC or how to form their own national committees.

-Document youth opinions on what the legacy of IPY should be. This list would ultimately serve to check the progress of IPY as it continues to develop and at the conclusion of IPY in 2009 to help judge how successful the program has been.

- A youth mentorship program in association with the Youth Science Foundation Canada (YSF). This would build on YSF's existing peer to peer mentoring program for high school aged youth, SMARTS (Student Mentorship Association Regarding Technology & Science). IPY YSC would aid YSF in extending this program first to include university level students and ultimately senior researchers and university professors. IPY YSC would also work to bring more polar expertise into this program.

-Connect youth to the poles and to each other. Reach out to the youth of late high school to early college age who have not yet chosen, or, more importantly, have long ago decided against, science as career, including that large group of youth who worry about the planet but whom often dismiss science as irrelevant, unreliable, arrogant, useless. Act as a strong voice on polar issues. Utilize marketing strategies aimed at our generation to vocalize support for IPY. Connect internationally to members of our generation who are not currently aware of the many concerns and issues facing the poles and the impacts changes there will have on their lives. Build connections that would help erode the divide between research science and science education.