6th June, 2023, Port-of-Spain – The Heroes Foundation joined forces with BBC World Questions on Monday to empower young people in Trinidad and Tobago to explore their role in democracy, express their views on important issues, and discover potential careers within the local and global media industry. The BBC team is visiting Trinidad and Tobago to record an edition of World Questions, and the Heroes Foundation worked with them on a non-broadcast event to foster civic engagement, amplify youth voices, and provide valuable insights into the exciting world of media.

BBC World Questions is a debate series from the BBC World Service which engages audiences in conversations about democracy, governance, and current affairs. Through live events, broadcasts, and online discussions, BBC World Questions promotes dialogue and encourages diverse voices to be heard worldwide. BBC World Service English Radio broadcasts an edition of the programme every month.

During an interactive session led by Charlie Taylor, Series Producer for BBC World Questions, secondary and tertiary level school students passionately shared their perspectives on the rights and freedoms they enjoy as citizens.  Students emphasised the importance of upholding human rights, respecting all members of society, ensuring transparency and accountability, and including youth voices in decision-making processes as critical components of a thriving democracy. They echoed a strong desire for honest and respectful engagement among all parties in Trinidad and Tobago especially towards addressing critical issues such as crime, abuse, and development for all people.

Joining the event was Asha Javeed, Lead Editor – Investigative, Guardian Media Limited, who shared her valuable guidance with aspiring young journalists and media professionals. Drawing from her experiences and insights, Asha provided a comprehensive understanding of the local media landscape and emphasised the critical role a free press plays in ensuring democracy and fuelling critical thinking.  Her presence further enriched the event, inspiring the youth to become active contributors to society through the power of media.

“Heroes is proud to work with BBC World Questions in this empowering and unique opportunity for youth in Trinidad and Tobago,” said Lawrence J. Arjoon, Chief Executive Officer of The Heroes Foundation. He emphasised, “Young people play a critical role in ensuring the vibrancy, resilience, and relevance of democratic systems. Their open feedback today demonstrated that they bring fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and a unique set of experiences that enable a more comprehensive understanding of societal challenges that can foster creative solutions for positive change. As future leaders, young people have a long-term stake in shaping the direction of our society. They are more likely to consider the consequences of decisions made today on future generations, and their active engagement in democracy helps ensure that policies and actions are aligned with sustainable development and the well-being of future populations.”

Charlie Taylor, Series Producer World Questions, noted, “It has been a privilege for all of us to work with the Heroes Foundation on this special event.  World Questions champions freedom of speech by recording public-led debates with politicians on location across the world. This is the first time we have worked with an audience drawn from schools.  I found it inspiring to engage with such passionate and articulate young Trinidadians who are ready to make their thoughts and feelings known on a number of important issues.” The Heroes Foundation’s work with BBC World Questions is yet another example of our innovative dedication to empowering youth and nurturing a culture of constructive civic engagement. By equipping young people with the necessary knowledge, skills, and opportunities, Trinidad and Tobago’s youth are poised to become informed, engaged, and active participants in shaping the future of their communities and county.

Heroes is grateful to everyone who supported the successful delivery of this event, especially:

  • The Office of the Prime Minister – Communications
  • The Ministry of Education
  • The Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (UDeCOTT)
  • The Bocas Lit Fest
  • Principals, Vice Principles, and Liaisons Teachers of the following schools:
    • Diego Martin North Secondary School
    • Holy Faith Convent, Penal
    • Marabella South Secondary School
    • Siparia West Secondary School
    • Southeast Port-of-Spain Secondary School
    • Success Laventille Secondary School
    • Tranquillity Secondary School
    • Woodbrook Secondary School
  • Parents and guardians of students in our programme
  • All secondary and tertiary level students who attending.