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International Youth Foundation & Nokia Honor 20 Youth Leaders as YouthActionNet(R) Global Fellows

BALTIMORE, Aug. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The International Youth Foundation (IYF) and Nokia today announced the 2009 YouthActionNet(R) Global Fellows. The winners are distinguished by their innovative local solutions to urgent global challenges. Among the 20 Fellows are a 23-year-old in the United States who helps young female victims of sexual violence in Sri Lanka to heal from their past; and a 27-year-old in Palestine, who uses mobile phone technology to link unemployed youth to jobs.

Launched in 2001 by IYF and Nokia, YouthActionNet(R) seeks to develop a new generation of socially-conscious global citizens who create positive change in their communities, their countries, and the world. Each year, YouthActionNet(R) selects 20 outstanding young leaders for its Global Fellowship program. Through the 12-month program, Fellows refine their leadership skills, participate in a weeklong retreat held in Washington, DC, and are recognized for their efforts at the YouthActionNet(R) Global Awards Ceremony.

"Each of the 2009 YouthActionNet(R) Fellows are passionate, committed young leaders who chose not to look the other way when they saw a problem, but to take a stand," said IYF President and CEO William S. Reese. "Through their efforts, companies in Colombia are learning how to operate sustainably, low-income farmers in Zimbabwe are able to send their children to school, and youth in violence-prone neighborhoods in the U.S. are learning to be peace-builders."

Kirsi Sormunen, Vice-President, Sustainability at Nokia, said, "Congratulations to each of this year's Fellows for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to improving the lives of others. Through their example, each teaches us the importance of creativity, perseverance, teamwork, and taking action to tackle society's most critical challenges."

A sample of the 2009 YouthActionNet(R) Fellows includes:

Cecilia Mendes Barros, 24, Brazil. Through Oficina-Escola de Artes e Oficios, Cecilia provides disadvantaged youth in Sao Paolo with the skills needed to rehabilitate historic buildings, while preserving their city's cultural heritage. In 2008, she was honored as a local YouthActionNet(R) National Fellow in Brazil by the Anhembi Morumbi Youth Initiative (Iam), created with support from the Sylvan/Laureate Foundation.

Eugeniu Graur, 27, Moldova: The founder of NGO CERTITUDE, Eugeniu equips Moldovan youth, many living in isolated rural areas, with the skills and knowledge to get jobs or create successful enterprises.

Emmanuel Odiase, 27, Nigeria. Through the SmokeFreeNigeria Initiative, Emmanuel educates young people about the dangers of smoking tobacco, conducts advocacy campaigns, establishes 'smoke free' zones, and harnesses the power of electronic and print media to educate audiences.

Deepika Singh, 29, India. Believing that education is a powerful tool to bring about social change, Deepika co-founded Udaan, which develops curricula, trains teachers, and uses video technology to improve the quality and accessibility of primary school education in rural and slum communities.

Since the Global Fellowship program was launched in January 2002, 160 young social entrepreneurs have been selected, with applications received from more than 4,500 young people in over 60 countries. Fellows are chosen annually following a peer review process in which previous Fellows select the next round of winners.

To learn more about YouthActionNet(R) and this year's Fellows, visit: http://www.youthactionnet.org.

About YouthActionNet(R)

Launched in 2001, YouthActionNet(R) seeks to develop a new generation of socially-conscious global citizens who create positive change in their communities, their countries, and the world. Through its fellowship programs, national institutes, dynamic website, grants, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities, YouthActionNet(R) offers young change makers ideas, resources, and connections to like minds around the world. To date, YouthActionNet(R) has launched national institutes in Australia, Brazil, Haiti, Israel, Mexico, and Spain. For further information, visit: www.youthactionnet.org.

About the International Youth Foundation (IYF)?

The International Youth Foundation (IYF) invests in the extraordinary potential of young people. Founded in 1990, IYF builds and maintains a worldwide community of businesses, governments, and civil-society organizations committed to empowering youth to be healthy, productive, and engaged citizens. IYF programs are catalysts of change that help young people obtain a quality education, gain employability skills, make healthy choices, and improve their communities. To learn more, visit: www.iyfnet.org.

About Nokia

Nokia is the world leader in mobility, driving the transformation and growth of the converging Internet and communications industries. We make a wide range of mobile devices with services and software that enable people to experience music, navigation, video, television, imaging, games, business mobility and more. Developing and growing our offering of consumer Internet services, as well as our enterprise solutions and software, is a key area of focus. We also provide equipment, solutions, and services for communications networks through Nokia Siemens Networks. More information about Nokia is available at: www.nokia.com.

About Nokia - Community involvement

Nokia is committed to having a positive impact on society that extends beyond the advanced technology, products, and services it creates. It has invested in community projects supporting young people and education in over 30 countries, benefiting more than one million young people. The company has an active employee volunteering program which last year saw its employees give almost 32,100 hours to local community projects. Nokia is also supporting innovative technology projects designed to bridge the digital divide and bring the benefits of mobile technology to communities around the world.

SOURCE International Youth Foundation

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