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Conference Of Young Alaskans brings youth from around the state to Juneau
Published: 01/05/2012 18:00:00
This week, youth from across the state are in Juneau to take part in a unique forum: The Conference Of Young Alaskans.

Nils Andreassen is the Managing Director at the Institute of the North who organized the event this year. He told us how it all got started: "The Conference Of Young Alaskans was founded in 2006 as an initiative of the University of Alaska and by a number of young gentlemen up in Fairbanks who had seen the Conference Of Alaskans take place and were inspired and wanted to provide a way to empower young Alaskans from around the state."

The first conference took place in 2006 in Fairbanks and recognized the anniversary of the Constitutional Convention, and it was decided then that it would occur every 3 years. The 2nd event was in 2009 in Girdwood, and coincided with the 50th anniversary of statehood.

The 55 delegates from 28 Alaskan communities are all between 16 and 25 and were chosen from just under 100 applicants from across the state. They are discussing topics that affect the entire state locally.

"They are not only connected to one and other, but they're connected to many of the critical issues facing the state" said Nils, "So 5 very broad issue areas: Energy and Power, Economic Resilience and Fiscal Policy, Natural Recources and The Environment, Vocation and Workforce Development, and then 'Ilakuyulluta'; which is living harmoniously with oneself and one's community, it's a Yupik word."

Results of the conference will be presented by the delegates to various groups in their own communities, and even the Alaska State Legislature later this spring.

The event is a positive way of nurturing development according to Nils: "We're growing future Alaskan leaders, in a different way than anyone else does. This is a unique experience, and it's something that I think gives Alaskans a voice in a new and meaningful way, in a compelling way, to other Alaskans and we grow as a state by supporting these young leaders."

By: Mikko Wilson -