Hello, is it me you’re looking for?

Yes, we matter.

Leuven welcomed ICYA participants with a sudden downpour, perhaps a sign of the challenges they’ll be faced with over the next few days. Luckily, the sun came out eventually, and the picturesque town didn’t wait to regain its beauty.

The first training session started at 4 pm. The trainer, Ana Postek, Vice President of Communication of IAAS, asked participants to answer one short yet not simple question: “Why are future leaders not heard?”.

Postek used this question to exemplify her lecture about finding the root causes of problems and solving them. The question forced the participants to reflect on themselves – the potential leaders of future agriculture. Yeah, here tolled the bell!

While some participants tried to answer to question by pointing to internal obstacles such as lack of knowledge and skills, the majority agreed that the system was at fault. People ask for changes. But why do changes not take place, at least not as fast as they are supposed to do?

The millennials are said to be the brainiest generation ever. They are eager to make an impact on the world they live in. Yet their influence is very limited. The power still lays in the hands of old men. Brexit is a stark example.

The strain in the room increased as more aspects were brought to the table. Moreover, an interesting difference came to the fore as the discussion advanced: Students living in developing countries paid more attention to socio-economic conditions while those from the more developed ones were more critical about what they perceive of as a conservative political system. At this point, we knew that this soft-skill training session had really worked.

For the young enthusiasts who dream of redefining the future of agriculture, passion is not enough. It is crucial for them to understand why their efforts don’t always bear fruit and how to work to change that.

More information on ICYA 2017 can be found here: http://www.iaasworld.org/event/international-conference-for-youth-in-agriculture-icya/

Blogpost by Kim Anh Luon, #ICYA2017 Social Reporter – kimanh3108@gmail.com

Picture courtesy of Kim Anh Luong

This post is part of the live coverage during the #ICYA2017 – The International Conference for Youth in Agriculture, organised by IAAS (The International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences).  

This post is written by one of our social reporters, as part of their training on social reporting, and represents the author’s views only.

The #ICYA2017 social reporting project is supported by GFAR, the Global Forum on Agricultural Research.