Founded in 2003, NY Forum is an independent and non-profit umbrella group, uniting a network of thirteen youth organizations from eleven ethnic nationalities. NY Forum promotes recognition, equality, national reconciliation and solidarity amongst the different ethnicities of Burma.
Through trainings and initiatives on human rights, capacity-building, pro-democracy and empowerment, as well as inter-generational knowledge sharing within communities, NY Forum strives to build a genuine, peaceful federalism, and to establish mutual understanding amongst Burma’s youth.
Aims and Objectives
- To develop mutual understanding and cooperation amongst youth organizations from different ethnic backgrounds.
- To expose ethnic youth to the concept and practice of trust building, cooperation and unity, acknowledging their importance for the national reconciliation movement.
- To increase the participation of young ethnic men and women in decision-making, politics and development at all levels of their communities.
- To build the individual skills and capacity of ethnic students and youth of Burma.
- To promote the empowerment of women to enable gender equality in both the membership and leadership of ethnic youth organizations, as well as within wider society.
- To work towards the actualization of the vision of Burma finally becoming a genuine, peaceful federalism.
Current Member Groups
NY Forum currently has thirteen member organizations, of eleven different ethnicities. In total, the number of staff and members is in the region of 41,000.
- All Kachin Student and Youth Union (AKSYU)
- All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress (AASYC)
- Arakan Youth Network Group (AYNG)
- Chin Student Union (CSU)
- Karen Youth Organization (KYO)
- Karenni National Youth Organization (KNYO)
- Karenni Student Union (KSU)
- Kayan New Generation Youth (KNGY)
- Mon Unity League (MUL)
- Ta’ang Student and Youth Organization (TSYO) (formerly Palaung Youth Network Group (PYNG))
- Pa-O Youth Organization (PYO)
- United Lahu Youth Organization (ULYO)
- Zomi Student and Youth Organization (ZSYO)
In 1996, a group of Shan and Karenni youths hosted several informal and formal meetings on the capacity-building of ethnic youth communities of Burma, finally founding SKY – Shan and Karenni Youth coordinating committee.
Following a series of ethnic youth capacity-building trainings, nine different ethnic group representatives participated, and mutually considered ethnic nationalities youth development. With inclusiveness as a central belief, the National Youth Development Committee (NYDC) was formed in 1999 with the objective of performing nationalities youth development action. As soon as NYDC was formed SKY handed over duties, and activities continued.
However, some youth movement leaders felt frustrated that NYDC only focused on development, so asked for the raising of awareness for participation in, or implemention of, politically-related activities. Following a nationalities youth seminar in 2000, ten different representatives of Karenni, Mon, Karen, Arakan, Kachin, Kayan, Palaung, Lahu, Chin and Pa-O organizations, agreed in 2001 to form the United Nationalities Youth League (UNYL).
NYDC was formed by and for ethnic nationalities youth, with a focus on capacity-building; UNYL was formed with similar objectives. After informal and formal meetings were called, both agreed to host a joint committee, then in 2003 it was agreed to merge the two organizations. The title of the newly created youth alliance body was Nationalities Youth Forum (NY Forum).