"Das it!" my friend Christina Chaise would exclaim during casual moments of agreement with an energy fit for an impassioned student representative and rights activist. Our friend and mentor, Kevin Stump, would concur in a mellowed manner, illustrative of a civic organizer that's cool as a cucumber.
Christina and Kevin have their own style and sense of being that my second-year undergrad self admired - a charisma, character, and a compassion for others that continues to resonate in my head and heart today.
Why fight for something? Why fight for education?
In 2012, their on-campus and community-wide endeavors on behalf of public higher education students sparked in me a deeper appreciation for the education that I passively engaged in and meandered through.
Their audacity to mobilize students and ability to articulate the issues humanized education for me, making me ask myself, "Why fight for something? Why fight for education?"
Over time, I learned that they fought and fight for not only something, but someone, and not only education, but for a human.
To them and now to me, education means a life of self-realization and self-worth, worthy of all the opportunities our world has to offer. It's this understanding that led me to A World at School and then to The International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity.
Around our world, tens of millions of primary school age children, among them girls, refugees, those with disabilities, and those living in remote areas, are without access to education.
In the United States, young people attending colleges and universities stand up and speak out against campus sexual violence, increasing tuition resulting from budget cuts, and debilitating student loan debt.
In the other hand, in developing states, young people stand up and speak out against violence on children living in conflict and war, decreased funding for even the most basic education, and exploiters cheating the impoverished out of loans needed to lay the foundation for a life out of poverty.
Around our world, tens of millions of primary-school-aged children, among them girls, refugees, those with disabilities, and those living in remote areas, are without access to education. Hundreds of millions more youth who are in school are under-equipped and uninspired to pursue a brighter and better future for themselves, their families, and communities.
What will happen to them? Will they simply be nameless numbers? Will they remain with little opportunity, uninspired?
Imagine a world where every child and young person can learn and thrive.
A World at School, with a global coalition of youth ambassadors, organizations, and enterprises, is raising awareness, standing #UpForSchool and speaking out in order to provide primary education to children without. The Education Commission, joined and led by inspired leaders, stewards, educators, and innovators, is heeding the call for them and all young people.
Imagine a world where every child and young person is just as inspired as these leaders to be the best that they can be. Imagine a world where young people can become leaders, stewards, educators, and innovators. Imagine a world where every child and young person can learn and thrive.
The Education Commission is garnering our stories and ideas on the future of education. Join the global consultations and the education youth video challenge. Join to inspire a world where all people have the self-realization and self-worth to reflect back on their life and answer when asked, "Who's inspired you?"
Benedict Joson is a Global Youth Ambassador for A World at School and a Youth Panelist at The International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity. Comment below or on social media and share your own reflection.