Youth Congress 2019

28 Feb 2019

Our 2019 Youth Congress took place at McEwan Hall in Edinburgh on Thursday 28th February.

With support from the Scottish Government, the University of Edinburgh, Orbis Expeditions and the Year of Young People National Lottery Fund, the 2019 Youth Congress was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the heritage and cultural links between young people in Scotland and Malawi. The event was co-designed by the SMP Youth Committee which represents our youth membership across Scotland and Malawi.

This year's SMP Youth Congress focused on the theme of Culture and Partnership as over 200 young people looked at how and why cultural exchange is important as a way of developing and deepening the partnership between Scotland and Malawi. The Community School of Auchterarder, George Watson's College, Biggar High School, St Stephen's High School, Bannerman High School, Kingussie High School, Gleniffer High School, St Roch's Secondary School, Penicuik High School, Kelvinside Academy, St Margaret's High School, and Beath High School took active part in the programme activities. 

Throughout the day, the young people enjoyed the following workshops:

  • Language & Culture
  • Malawi & Me
  • Conscious Travelling
  • Drumming
  • Images and Stories of Malawi
  • How to Celebrate Your Partnership - Events Planning     

There was also a marketplace with representatives from 15 different organisations on hand to talk about their links to Malawi as well as the opportunities they can offer young people.           

Our Plenary Session began with a special musical collaboration from Davie Luhanga and Euan Mclaughlin. 

There was also video input from partners in Malawi, discussing the importance of cultural exchange between young people and what that looks like in today's world and a panel discussion to consider the importance of cultural exchange in discovering and appreciating similarities and differences between people and their respective communities.

Our panellists were: 

  • Lucy Young (Deputy Director, British Council Scotland),
  • John Lwanda (a renowned medical doctor, writer, poet, researcher, publisher and music producer),
  • Emma Wood (senior lecturer in communication at Queen Margaret University, member of the Centre for Dialogue and Engagement and board member for STEKA).

We were delighted to welcome Scottish Government Minister for International Development, Ben Macpherson MSP, to lead one of the afternoon sessions, speaking about his visit to Malawi.

As well as workshops for young people, teachers also attended their own workshop and there was a dedicated area set up for networking. 

Teachers workshops were: 

  • Scotdec - Learning and Teaching for the Sustainable Development Goals with Silvia Sabino-Hunt.
  • Orbis Expeditions - Travel to Malawi Q&A session with Dominic Webb.
  • Emma Wood and Gift Thompson - Discussing aid framed narratives of ‘developed’ and ‘undeveloped’ countries. 

The event was open to school groups, teachers, or any individual aged between 18-24 who was interested in the link between Scotland and Malawi.

If you enjoyed the day and are not yet one of our members, why not do it now? It’s free! 

Have a look at some of the highlights in the video below!

Positive media coverage

Have a look at our photo gallery from the 2019 Youth Congress!

Youth Congress 2019