WEBINAR: Youth Voices: Changing Narratives and Engaging Youth, June 7, 2016

Making Cents International and RTI International

First person accounts of “lived experience” have the power to change global narratives and effect real change, as seen in movements as diverse as marriage equality, Black Lives Matter, eliminating extreme poverty, fighting climate change, and promoting girls education. Would better first person accounts counter unfair youth development narratives? i.e. Blame youth, fear youth, give up on youth…

Many have identified that the global conversation about youth is too often missing the voices of youth. Organizations that support youth understand the importance of helping youth tell their stories, but do we do so in dynamic ways that maximize impact? Join RTI International, The GroundTruth Project, Education for Employment, and the National Journal in an important conversation on effective storytelling, namely:

  1. How can organizations better engage youth in their storytelling efforts?
  2. How can these stories be used to change the global narrative on youth economic opportunities?
  3. What is the role of the media? How can we engage them?

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Mariel Davis
Senior Manager, Communications & Partnerships, Education for Employment (EFE)

Mary Eleanor “Mariel” Davis leads global communications at Education For Employment (EFE), the leading youth employment organization in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).  As a core component of EFE’s communications strategy, she collaborates with international media outlets and Fortune 500 companies to create opportunities for MENA youth to present their perspectives to global audiences. Mariel joined EFE from Qatar, where she served as a Georgetown University - Qatar University Arabic language fellow and as a consultant for the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative. Previously, she coordinated development and public relations for the Arab American Association of New York and co-designed the first international exhibition at the US National Children's Museum. Davis has researched or worked in Egypt, Yemen, the West Bank, Qatar, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan and the UAE. She graduated with high honors from Columbia University with specializations in History and Middle East Studies, and is completing her Global Masters in Management at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2013, Davis was named a Carnegie New Leader.

Charles M. Sennott
Co-founder, GlobalPost
Founder, Executive Director, The GroundTruth Project

Charles Sennott is the founder and executive director of The GroundTruth Project. He is an award-winning foreign correspondent, author, and editor with 30 years of experience in journalism. Sennott has reported on the front lines of wars and insurgencies in at least 15 countries, including the 2011 revolution in Cairo and the Arab Spring. Sennott’s deep experience reporting internationally led him to launch GroundTruth and to dedicate himself to training the next generation of international journalists for the digital age. Sennott is also the co-founder of GlobalPost, an acclaimed international news website. Previously, Sennott served as the Boston Globe’s Middle East Bureau Chief based in Jerusalem from 1997 to 2001 and as Europe Bureau Chief based in London from 2001 to 2005.

Julie Dixon
Research Director, National Journal Communications Council, Atlantic Media, Georgetown University 

Julie Dixon is the Research Director of National Journal's Communications Council, where she leads a dedicated team that provides data and insights to strategically support communications executives within Washington advocacy organizations. Previously, she led Georgetown University's Center for Social Impact Communication, an industry-leading resource on the role of communication in fostering social change. In addition to managing the center's day-to-day operations, curriculum and program development, she pioneered its applied research agenda, focusing on emerging topics of digital storytelling, online influence and engagement. Through her research and teaching, the center equipped thousands of organizations with more effective, sustainable communication strategies.

Julie is a sought-after expert and speaker on a range of communications topics in the social sector, most recently focusing on the intersection of digital media and social good. She holds a master's degree in public relations from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.


Ami Thakkar
Senior Youth & Workforce Development Specialist, RTI International

Ami Thakkar is an international development professional with 16 years’ experience working with the US Government, global nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and the World Bank on programs that improve the lives of children, young people, and women. Her career has focused on issues in youth entrepreneurship and employment, career counseling and job placement, technical and vocational education and training (TVET), youth leadership and volunteerism, life skills, basic and non-formal education, child labor, and gender. She currently serves as a Senior Specialist in Youth and Workforce Development for RTI International’s International Development Group, strengthening RTI’s efforts to align education systems with labor market demand and transitioning young people into jobs. Previously, she worked for the International Youth Foundation, managing their largest corporate partnership with Nokia to strengthen soft skills, civic engagement and leadership programs for young people in more than twenty countries.