A Filipino Grade 11 student from Quezon City is working hard to make sure that fellow youth with a growing interest in the subject of Philosophy actually have a space to deepen their appreciation and connect with other young philosophers all over the world.
PhilosophYouth, founded by 16-year-old Grace Catan, was created with a mission to make Philosophy more accessible to young Filipinos who don’t often get many opportunities to study it more.
“I started PhilosophYouth because I’m a huge philosophy nerd, and so far, I noticed there were very few places and ways for young people like me to do “real” philosophy. Even with online courses and the rare Zoom session here and there, my experience almost always felt incomplete,” Grace shares with When In Manila.
“When I realized how many other young people were also searching for better ways to explore philosophy, a picture popped into my head. It was a streamlined hub where people could find everything, from classes and live discussion to internships and publishing opportunities, all in one site. From that image in my mind, a few very productive conversations, and a whole lot of idea-scribbling, the idea for PhilosophYouth was formed.”
Since its establishment, PhilosophYouth has bridged together young students from different parts of the world—namely USA, Saudi Arabia, Germany, India, United Kingdom, Russia, and the Philippines—to discuss and debate on specific topics and ideas. Soon, it hopes to offer a mentorship program for philosophy professionals to personally guide their young mentees to deepen their knowledge. It is also currently building its collection of philosophy essays which people can submit on the PhilosophYouth website.
Pulling all of this off is no easy feat and Grace admits that initially struggled with her confidence in her dream.
“In the beginning, my biggest struggle personally was facing the fear that I might be the only person who actually liked what PhilosophYouth was trying to accomplish,” she says. “While I do still worry every now and then, that anxiety is balanced off by all the messages and emails from people who are thrilled and thankful that PhilosophYouth exists.”
And it’s the knowledge of having left such a significant impact on the lives of people she never would have met had she not pursued this ambition that drives her to keep going.
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“Just as an example, we had a discussion two Saturdays ago about free will and determinism, examined through the lens of ice cream flavors. Everyone connected and had so much fun during that session that they exchanged Discord usernames and created a server afterward called ‘strawberry superiority,’” she notes.
Right now, interested youth can sign up for upcoming discussion sessions, join the waitlist for mentorship, or volunteer to join the PhilosophYouth team to help ignite people’s passion for learning and make Philosophy more fun and relatable to everyone.
“As we continue expanding our network, reaching more young philosophers, and building the opportunities that they need, the ultimate vision is to create a place where every person and idea has an equal chance to be recognized and to be heard,” Grace adds. “We hope to cultivate a culture where everyone is comfortable sharing their ideas and where it’s easy to find good opportunities, whether we created them ourselves or we’re helping the youth find them.”
“PhilosophYouth is really here to support young people as they learn to think deeply, unravel big questions, search for truth, and express their thoughts,” she ends.
Find out more about it through philosophyouth.org
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