March 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, and 26, 2022, via Video Conference – World Youth Alliance recently concluded its 19th International Solidarity Forum on Human Dignity and Sexuality Education.
The International Solidarity Forum (ISF) is WYA’s annual training event. The ISF brought together its largest delegation ever of around 90 World Youth Alliance members from Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America.
The 2022 theme “From CSE to Human Dignity Education” examined the topic of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) programmes and curricula that are offered by international organizations and NGOs to countries all over the globe. Claiming to offer scientifically accurate, age-appropriate and comprehensive education, they have proven to be controversial and have been rejected by many educational institutions.
Delegates were given the opportunity to compare and contrast different approaches and methodologies for implementing sexuality education, including discussing what the requirements are in international law. They looked at successful ways to approach the subject of human sexuality by empowering young people to make responsible choices through a deep understanding of their own and other’s human dignity.
Featuring experts in policy and education, attendees learned how to bring person-centered solutions in their own countries. After listening to the experts, WYA delegates then negotiated an outcome document articulating WYA’s views on the topics mentioned above.
Barbara Vargić, Elementary School Teacher and HDC Volunteer
Barbara Vargić is 25 years old and from Zagreb, Croatia. By profession, she is a social pedagogue and works in an international elementary school. She has been a volunteer with the HDC since 2019 and is currently the deputy head of the team. In her free time, she babysits, volunteers and attends an amateur drama group.
Clare Halpine, Creative Director for WYA and FEMM
Clare Halpine holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Mount Allison University, Canada, and an MFA from the University of Washington. She received a City Arts Award in Seattle for her video work, “Ne-Yo Liberalism” and was a recipient of the Parks Award for Critical Issues in Contemporary Art. Her writing has appeared in The Curator, First Things, Memoir Magazine and Button Poetry, while her performance and video work has been shown nationally and internationally.
Dr. Darleen Edwards-Meyer, Founder and Developer of the SMART LIFE Program
Dr Edwards-Meyer specializes in the field of Relationship, Family, Sexuality, HIV & AIDS and Life Skills Education. She has been a Senior lecturer at Vista, Pretoria and Stellenbosch Universities respectively, for 20 years. As a service provider for the Department of Education for 14 years, she has developed, conducted training in, and implemented numerous official South African programs for schools, inter alia Botswadi & Ubungani Parenting programs; The first HIV & AIDS, Sexuality & Life skills program for Primary Schools in S.A; Care & support for learners infected/affected by HIV & AIDS; RADS Peer support program etc.
Dr. Pilar Vigil, PhD, President, Teen STAR™ International
Dr. Pilar Vigil, PhD, FACOG, is the Research Director of the RHRI. She completed her post-doctoral work with Dr. Emil Steinberger at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, and spent decades working with both Dr. Steinberger and Dr. Brown. The importance of this legacy of research and clinical care, along with the collaborations with Drs John and Evelyn Billings, is the foundation of the scientific work of FEMM and the RHRI.
Aliah was the first awardee of the WYA Kathryn Hoomkwap Award for Extraordinary Service in Defense of the Dignity of the Human Person. After volunteering for WYA Asia Pacific in 2005, Aliah joined the New York Internship at the WYA Headquarters in 2008, and became the International Director of Operations from 2008 to 2010. She served briefly as the Executive Director of WYA Foundation before returning to the Philippines to assume her elected position as the 2nd District Representative of the Province of Lanao del Norte in the Philippines House of Representatives. While in office, she presented a new voice in Congress for the indigenous Maranao tribe and fought the Reproductive Health Bill. Aliah continues to serve the mission of WYA as a member of the WYA Board of Directors. She has over 6 years of experience as a Business Development Consultant.
Hrvoje Vargić, WYA Europe Director of Partnerships
Hrvoje is originally from a small town of Đakovo in the eastern part of Croatia, but moved to Zagreb when he was 18 to pursue his studies. He holds a BA in Business and Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Zagreb. Prior to being selected as WYA Europe Regional Director, he worked as project manager for a business consultancy company. He also holds a second BA in Philosophy and has finished the MA Philosophy Program of the University of Zagreb. He is a Phoenix Institute alumnus, from which he was awarded a Diploma in Advanced Studies in Political, Economic and Social Sciences. Hrvoje was one of the founders of the WYA Croatia Chapter in 2012, and was part of several other civic initiatives in Croatia. He has given several speeches in different symposia and conferences, published a scientific article in a peer reviewed journal, and co-authored a book on EU project management.
Miko Superable, WYA Regional Director of Asia Pacific Office
Born and raised in Manila, Miko first heard of WYA through the Manhattan International Film Festival in 2014. He has since become a vigorous dignity defender representing WYA Asia Pacific in different local and international events. He underwent his first WYAAP internship in 2014 in Manila and a year later, became a Marketing and Communications Trainee at the WYA headquarters in New York City. In 2016, he entered the advertising industry, creating campaigns and data stories for Japanese ad agency Dentsu Jayme Syfu and Philippine-based news platform Rappler. In October of 2019, he became the regional director for World Youth Alliance in Asia Pacific. Outside of work, Miko enjoys writing and making music. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from De La Salle University in Manila.
Tara Zettel, RN Sexual Risk Avoidance Specialist, Certified FEMM/teenFEMM Instructor, and RN Sonographer
Tara is an RN, Sexual Risk Avoidance Specialist, Certified FEMM/teenFEMM Instructor, and RN Sonographer. She is also the President and Executive Director of a non-profit sexual health and pregnancy clinic, Connect Medical Clinic, in Dickinson, North Dakota, USA. She is passionate about serving sexually active, at-risk men and women, especially youth who are growing up in a culture that glorifies sexual exploration and minimizes the risk to a person: physically, emotionally, mentally, spirtiually and practically. In her work at Connect, she strives to create a safe, accessible place for informed, confident sexual health decisions. Tara has been married to her husband Jake for 20 years and together
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Cape Verde
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Dominican Republic
- the Philippines
- Trinidad and Tobago
Experts in the field of the theme, including activists, professionals, researchers, and scholastics, presented global issues to the participants. The positions expressed by the lecturers in the ISF greatly influenced the declaration made. Although the ISF was hosted online, the delegates were still able to experience different cultures and perspectives during the event, especially during the closing ceremony which was hosted via Gatherly (an online event platform that replicates the experience of physically moving between rooms).
As a diverse group of people from different parts of the world, the discussions tackled topics reflecting insights from their respective regions.
The Declaration on Human Dignity and Sexuality Education will soon be available on WYA’s Declarations page.