The International Alliance of Youth Writing Centers was conceived in the summer of 2018, when about 20 youth writing labs from around the world convened in Amsterdam. The leaders of these centers agreed there was a need to unite under one loose banner, while of course remaining independent.
We all agreed that we should not create a burdensome central bureaucracy. But in acknowledging that we share a mission we also agreed that we would, wherever possible, work together on international projects to multiply the effect any of our centers could enjoy on our own.
The centers of this Alliance are not formally connected by paperwork or in any legal sense. We are joined only in a common belief that young people need places where they can write and be heard, where they can have their voices polished, published, and amplified.
The Alliance is a movement and our cumulative power gives us strength. The hope in setting up this website is to show each other and the world just how many of us there are and to encourage more centers to emerge. This is a time when migrants are being treated with suspicion, when opportunities are being curtailed in many countries for people who are new arrivals, and when xenophobia is not only accepted but celebrated by our most powerful elected leaders.
More than ever, we need safe spaces for young people, especially immigrants; spaces where they can learn and be welcomed—where their minds and words are celebrated, not denigrated.
To that end, through this site we will offer as much advice and guidance as we possibly can. There is no lever to power more accessible than the written word, and we are determined to give this power to as many young people around the world as possible. We will be updating the information herein regularly, and will be responding to your needs and queries as best we can. Our dream is that more and more like-minded youth writing centers, those extant and emerging, join our movement.