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Five Minutes to Midnight – Analysis, Research, and Development Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Wojciech Gryc, Canada Mar 31, 2005
Citizen Journalism   Opinions


Five Minutes to Midnight (FMM), available at http://www.fiveminutestomidnight.org, is an organization devoted to promoting human rights and international issues among the world's youth. Originally started as a way for young people to share their views about the war in Iraq, it has grown to include all topics within the field of human rights and development.

Seeing the importance of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as they relate to young people and the rest of the world, Five Minutes to Midnight has started an awareness campaign to ensure young people to become aware and get involved. In 2015, ten years from now, those that comprise the youth demographic today will be entering a new phase of their livelihoods, careers, environments, and lifestyles will be affected by the policies and accomplishments (or lack thereof) that society works towards today.

FMM sees youth involvement in everything from policy formulation to grassroots campaigns promoting the MDGs as vital to their long-term success. The FMM campaign does not set out to advocate specific goals, but works to give young people the tools they need to critically analyze the goals, and convince themselves to do something about them.

To do this, FMM publishes MDG-oriented articles in its online publication. The articles represent youth opinions and research on the MDGs and other international issues, and also explore topics in a way mass media does not, to ensure that all opinions and ideas are explored before one delves into development work and involvement within similar sectors of society.

The articles published online are read by subscribers from around the world, and include regular contributions from all continents. To build on the success of its online issues, FMM has also put together a book of the most touching and provocative articles, which it published in August 2004. The book is sold online and by dedicated volunteers, with all profits going to youth-based charities working to achieve the MDGs.

Since the project's inception, the organization has worked to create strong partnerships with other projects and publications around the world. Its strong volunteer base, with supporters from every continent, coupled with partnerships in several countries, have allowed the articles written by FMM volunteers to reach a massive audience around the world. These articles, appearing in local publications and through copies of the book being sent to different areas of the world, have allowed young people to express their opinions and research about the MDGs and other international issues. They have reached a large audience, composed of all ages and backgrounds.

Five Minutes to Midnight is based in Toronto, Canada, and its volunteers have been very active in the region. FMM designed a media awareness workshop that informs young people and gives them the tools to properly analyze the information they receive from the media, politicians, and other sources regarding the MDGs. The workshop also focuses on alternative solutions to poverty proposed by experts around the world, and gives youths a forum to discuss whether such solutions are feasible. These workshops have been presented at dozens of conferences and schools, with hundreds of youths giving positive reviews to the material and methods of presentation.

With such an approach to development in its workshops, and through articles covering topics that large media conglomerates rarely delve into, those working on Five Minutes to Midnight enjoy challenging commonly accepted, rarely analyzed views, and also work to provide unconventional solutions to some of the world's most pertinent problems.

Keeping this philosophy in mind, FMM is constantly looking for opportunities and project ideas. One currently under development is called the “Initiative for Interdisciplinary Research” (I2R), available at http://www.i2r.org. I2R. It strives to involve youths in organizations and research projects that combine science with the social sciences; specifically, FMM is trying to create novel scientific projects that can benefit development efforts and achieve the MDGs.

Through its projects, Five Minutes to Midnight works to promote the Millennium Development Goals through publishing articles on the topic online and in partner publications. Furthermore, it works to build opportunities for young people by spearheading projects that help them get involved, critically analyze issues, and empower them to create solutions.



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Wojciech Gryc

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