|Organization: THE MEGA-CITIES PROJECT|
As the Yoruba proverb says, “if we stand tall it is because we stand on the shoulders of our elders so we can see further ahead.” At Habitat II, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Mega-Cities Project, hosting the Local Coordinators from each of the 20 mega-cities in our network as well as the community participants who were part of the first ever Grassroots Innovation Exposition. At Habitat III, our goal is to accelerate the effectiveness of the next generation of young and emerging leaders by connecting them with each other and this first cohort of experienced MCP pioneers. This event will serve as the launch of our next generation network, Mega Cities/Mega-Change, or MC2. Just as 20 yeas ago in Istanbul we shared our strategy to shorten the time lag between ideas and implementation, in Quito we will launch—with your participation—a strategy for shortening the lag time for promising young leaders to be heard, to make a difference and to access intergenerational support networks. To bring find the inspiring young urban innovators and enable them to join our Networking Session, we will open an online competition. The winners, selected by jury and crowd sourcing, will receive cash AWARDS and showcase promising youth-led initiatives with system-challenging innovations that can be scaled into policy, replicated, and inspire others. Speakers will share what they have already done and seek guidance from elder leaders and the attendees to learn how they overcame common obstacles. Through pre-Habitat III preparatory meetings, this Networking Event, and Post-Meeting we will produce an implementation plan to ensure that this network has breadth, depth and endurance. These stages support bonding and bridging networks to strengthen emerging leaders and their initiatives.