Managing Director, Youth & Innovation Research Project, University of Waterloo
Ilona is a regular commentator in the national media, and speaks to audiences internationally about tapping into the innovation potential of Millennials and Gen Z. In 2004, she co-founded Apathy is Boring, a Canadian non-partisan charitable organization that educates youth about democracy and encourages them to vote. In 2015, she was named one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada by the Women's Executive Network.
When Penny's mom said last week that Ms. Oleksiak is in fact "a very typical teenager," she reminded us of something important. Ms. Oleksiak is one of many young Canadians just waiting for their opportunity to shine. If we surround them with support, they will no doubt live up to the challenge just like Ms. Oleksiak did in Rio.
We need put aside current quick-fix approaches to youth voter mobilization that have limited effectiveness; be it vote mobs (sorry, Rick Mercer) or reaching out to just students -- and ensure that we're focusing on the more difficult to implement strategies that will actually lead to getting youth to the polls in the long run.
11/29/2011 02:51 EST
Perhaps the most common misconception is that young Canadians lack faith in democracy. Anyone who believes this simply hasn't looked at the evidence. Youth have just as much (or little) faith in our democratic process as their parents' generations, and it doesn't explain the difference in voter turnout.
10/07/2011 10:28 EDT
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