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Teenspire Global: Innovative Training for the Next Generation

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, new ideas are springing up around the globe to help marginalized communities. Teenspire Global Mission is a new model with innovative ways young people can make a difference.

group of teens collaborating on a project
Looking back, there are many sad stories from 2020. Nevertheless, there are also many bright lights that have emerged that bring more hope for 2021 and beyond.

One example is a new nonprofit group that launched this summer called Teenspire Global Mission, which works with young people all over the world to solve difficult challenges. The organization is the brainchild of a wonderful person whom I met in Dubai in 2015 when I was a keynote speaker at their Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference (GISEC). During that visit, I quickly learned that Ayusha Tyagi is an extremely talented executive with amazing coordination skills and capabilities.   

At that time, Tyagi was the portfolio director for the Dubai World Trade Center, managing their many global events and much more. After that role, she moved on to become the managing director for IQPC Middle East.

And in August 2020, Tyagi dedicated herself to a new mission by becoming the founder and director of Teenspire Global Mission. I was delighted to join their initial advisory board when Ms. Tyagi reached out to me this past summer. I was also pleased that she agreed to be interviewed for this blog to describe the group's progress and tell their amazing stories.


Dan Lohrmann (DL): What is Teenspire Global?

Ayusha Tyagi (AT): Teenspire Global is an innovative social research, not-for-profit organization. We work with young people globally to raise awareness about the critical issues facing humanity while empowering them to be the change agents to solve complex challenges.

The framework of our comprehensive programs and activations is based on the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs), and in 2021 we are collaborating with United Nations partners to deliver focused outcomes to impact the lives of 3 million people from marginalized communities in Africa, India, Europe, the U.S. and Asia who have been impacted by COVID-19.

DL: How did you (and your team) come up with the idea?

AT: Teenspire Global Mission was conceptualized from a strong desire to innovatively tackle problems that have plagued humanity for decades. The misery the pandemic caused in the first few months of lockdowns amplified the desire to empower youth to craft solutions for a sustainable future. The youth are a powerful voice, and represent 25 percent of humanity, but are often left on the sidelines. We are changing that. We are ensuring they understand they can be active decision-makers by developing solutions that can be deployed in communities. Every day we help thousands of children globally understand “how to” do it.

DL: How is this effort different from other training efforts that you've seen?

AT: The feedback from the students we work with is a clear indicator there is no program like ours out there. We spend hours of research in developing our IDIEA Pods, which provide inspiration and a clear methodology to students to develop solutions. They craft these solutions with us and come up with amazing ideas. The more we train them, the more skilled they will get at creating solutions that stick and solve problems.

Mental health has been a real concern among young people in 2020. We have invested significant resources to deliver mental health IDIEA Pods to more than 15,000 young people globally this year. We helped them become change agents and offer support to friends and people around them that need it.

One of the students sent us this note after the Pod we hosted: ”This was a wonderful discussion on mental health. I learnt several key pieces of information that will greatly improve my abilities. As a result of this webinar, I plan to approach the discussion section with more structure. Ms. Ayusha was a fabulous speaker with wonderful mindset for creating a society of Young Problem Solvers. I really loved the spirit, enthusiasm and great sense of humor of our presenter. She did a wonderful job and I found the talk to be highly informative. I am definitely empowered.”

DL: Why is this effort important right now in the middle of a global pandemic?

AT: The world needs more than just humanitarian aid to tackle the deep chasms the pandemic has created. We need millions of innovative solutions to solve problems that have affected virtually everyone, especially the vulnerable communities. And we need lots of partnerships to get there.

One of the principals from a school in India sent us this message: "The whole and soul of today's teenagers is technology. They spend a lot of time browsing unwanted stuff. If the teenager gets connected with Teenspire Global Mission, he/she would get an opportunity to think logically about the problems existing in this world and come out with better solutions wherein they can make this world a sustainable place for the future generation. They can explore and come out with innovative and practical solutions which would keep their minds intact in brainstorming. Teenspire is a tremendous guidance platform with programs that teach students about the correct norms of humanity. My students are benefiting from this and are content to be a part of it."

Some upcoming programs include "Future of No Poverty," where we are working in partnership with Detroit Revitalization Fellows; AI and data analytics in the future of sports with Formula 1; sustainable oceans with the Netherlands Water Partnership; and clean energy with Energy Swaraj Foundation, among others.

We also did a webinar on Future of Museums recently with National Heritage Board Singapore that resonated extremely well with our young audience. The young Teenspirers wanted to know all about the digitized world of museums. They asked questions like:

  • Was it easy to adjust to this digital world? What were the problems faced?
  • When did you realize (pre-COVID) that a digital presence was needed?
  • How do you think that the culture and heritage of a place and digital space will go hand in hand with the digitization of museums in the future?
  • What kind of career opportunities will evolve with technologies being implemented in museums and heritage sites?
  • Do you think digital interaction is better than physical interaction?
The feedback was great, and after the webinar we got this message via Instagram: "I attended this webinar and wow!!! It was interactive and informative and I really learnt so much. It gave insights on just how the world is constantly changing, and everything has to change with it. Thank you so much for this webinar @teenspireglobal and Mr. Choo.”

DL: What is new that you are announcing today?

AT: We’d like to launch our #Sustianable17Dare Program for 2021 today. The #Sustainable17Dare program is a partnership that is structured around the United Nations' SDG framework and the IDIEA methodology. It will empower students globally to develop meaningful solutions that help open gateways to prosperity for millions. It’s part of the regional UN Global Compact initiatives.

Our Global Youth Tech Trends Report 2020, which captured the pulse of 1,500 young people worldwide, showed that youth globally are keen to embrace technology. AI and cybersecurity are the top technologies they wish to pursue. As such, we are excited to see how these will be integrated into the solutions they’ll be developing.

DL: How can people get involved in the U.S., Europe and around the world?

AT: Our #Sustainable17Dare Program for 2021 is a global program in collaboration with the United Nations partner agencies. We welcome corporations who are embracing the UN SDGs to talk to us. Our platform is complementary for all children worldwide, so we are looking for corporate partners who’d like to work with us.

We are also connecting with several NGOs and educational institutes worldwide to share our IDIEA program with. So, anyone interested in collaborating is welcome to contact us.

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to share our story. Appreciate it, Dan.

DL: Thank you so much for your leadership and global example that can help bring more hope to the nations' young people and more innovation around the world.

Daniel J. Lohrmann is an internationally recognized cybersecurity leader, technologist, keynote speaker and author.