18-year old Victor Ye distinctly remembers the moment that made him rethink the education system. He was in his European History class when his classmate was wrapping up her analysis of the breakup of King Louis XVI's monarchy into a more secular and democratic republic. As she spoke, Victor realized that the people of Venezuela were experiencing a similar catastrophe. When he brought about the parallels to his classmates, his teacher told him to stop wasting time on irrelevant information.
From the biology course he took his freshman year to that fateful European History class, Victor observed that his teachers emphasized memorization and test preparation over real-world application.
“I knew it was my moral obligation not just to do my part but also play a role in inspiring and supporting other young people to take action.”
He also felt that his school was not fostering an environment that empowered students to take action around important issues. “As an avid consumer of news and current events, I saw the need to challenge the status quo to meet the challenges my generation faces,” he recalled. “I knew it was my moral obligation not just to do my part but also play a role in inspiring and supporting other young people to take action.”
Now Victor is using his voice for good by inspiring youth to create innovative solutions to challenging issues currently left unsolved. “When change-making becomes part of the norm, every young person will seek to collaborate and make the place a better world for everyone to live in,” he said.
Victor is the founder & CEO of InnovaYouth, an education nonprofit that helps students start their projects and empower the next generation of young changemakers. He and his team host conferences and workshops on social responsibility, civic engagement, global leadership, and Gen Z culture. Since its founding, the organization has directly impacted over 10,600 students in 15 states and 14 countries. He also spearheads Coalesce For, a national civic initiative to increase the young voter turnout for the 2020 election.
As an exceptional Gen Z’er making an impact, Victor was honored for his work in the Social Impact space through The ConversationaLIST. “Students should not only take course notes and memorize factual information from the textbook; they should also look beyond to solve systemic issues that affect our generation,” he said. “Whether it is from climate change to education policy and even mental health, young people have the voice to drive conversation and make an exceptional contribution to the world as a global citizen.”
"Young people have the voice to drive conversation and make an exceptional contribution to the world as a global citizen.”
Victor wants to remind young people who are still seeking to find their voice that each person's voice is unique and comes out at different stages of their journey. “Keep doing what you love and find what drives you on daily,” he said.
In the future, Victor hopes to use his connections and experience to influence policy and legislation. Notably, he hopes to learn more about international relations, global economics, and foreign relations.
As a first-generation American, he is motivated to leave a lasting legacy for his future children. “I hope my legacy will be to inspire more Asian Americans to have a voice in American society and lead the way in all sectors of life: economic, social, cultural, and political,” he said.
Victor resonates with The Conversationalist’s mission to promote exposure to various perspectives and personal backgrounds. “I love forming new communities of people who have different cultures and customs because it is so satisfying to see each other carry solid ground on many things,” he said.
In a unified world, Victor believes that everyone, no matter their background, can feel like they belong. He hopes that Gen Z can come together and achieve this by staying educated and informed about current events and identify the most significant issues they need to address.
“I ask questions to learn more about their particular line of reasoning and often ask for anecdotes or stories that would connect the concepts with real-world situations.”
To break open his echo chamber, Victor tries to stay open-minded and listens intentionally instead of always trying to speak. “I ask questions to learn more about their particular line of reasoning and often ask for anecdotes or stories that would connect the concepts with real-world situations,” he said about approaching difficult conversations.
We couldn't be more grateful to Victor Ye and all he does to use his voice to empower his community. Keep up with him on Instagram and follow InnovaYouth to learn more about his work.