On 6 July the Chairman of the Roosevelt Foundation and King’s commissioner in Zeeland, Han Polman, and the Dean of University College Roosevelt (UCR), Bert van den Brink, signed a plan of action which aims to explore and access the opportunity to increasingly recognize the work of young individuals in relation to the Four Freedoms principles.
The cooperation fits within the Roosevelt Foundation’s ambition to strengthen outreach on the Four Freedoms, to celebrate the actions of young people in preserving the Four Freedoms principles, and to involve them in the work of the organization.
As part of a one-year pilot program students of UCR will deliver a report on youth involvement in the Four Freedoms Awards and advise the Roosevelt Foundation on potential laureates under 21. In preparation of their recommendations the students will amongst others interview their peers (both locally and globally) and thus create awareness among youth of the challenges that still have to be met to realize a world founded upon four essential freedoms:
- The freedom of speech and expression, for everyone, everywhere in the world;
- The freedom of worship, for everyone, everywhere in the world;
- The freedom from want, for everyone, everywhere in the world;
- The freedom from fear, for everyone, anywhere in the world.
The ultimate selection of the laureates will remain a responsibility of the Board of the Roosevelt Foundation. If the Board follows the students’ advice, it will not be the first time that the Board will nominate a laureate under 21.
Han Polman: ‘In 2014 the Roosevelt Foundation awarded the Freedom from Fear Medal to Malala Yousafzai for her education and women’s rights activism. She was 16 years of age when she received the award in Middelburg and she is still a great inspiration to people all over the world. We always say that youth are the future, but youth are also the present, and Malala and many more like her prove that youth can and do make a difference.’
Students of the UCR will also deliver an academic paper around the topic of youth activism at a symposium at UCR, that possibly will be held in conjunction with the Four Freedoms Awards ceremony in Spring 2022.
The pilot program was developed by UCR alumni Claire Dépit with the help of Dr. John Friedman (Professor of Anthropology at UCR), who will also serve as supervisors for the students. The pilot program will be evaluated in June 2022.