An Adolescent in the City–2024: Conference Roundtable on Choices Adolescents Make

On April 9 and 10, 2024, Moscow hosted the 17th International Conference “An Adolescent in the City,” with a focus on building effective practices for providing social and psychological assistance to adolescents and their social environment.

The central theme of the conference revolved around the challenges of growing up that arise in the lives of adolescents and exploring strategies of addressing them amidst uncertainty and social transformations.

Traditionally, the UNESCO Institute for Information Technology in Education (IITE) participated in the conference and together with the “Investment in the Future” Charitable Foundation organized a round table discussion titled “What are the choices made by modern teens living in cities—and how do they make these choices?”

The event, lasting three hours and praised as one of the most engaging and informative sessions of the conference, featured invited experts and participants sharing their experiences and perspectives on the choices made by teenagers today.

What topics adolescents discuss, how they assess their own health and life satisfaction, and whether they feel empowered to make important decisions―these and other findings from an international survey were shared by Tigran Yepoyan, UNESCO Regional Adviser for Health Education, who highlighted a number of challenges related to both physical health and perceived well-being of the younger generation. He also suggested a potential solution: incorporating an educational course on health and relationships into the school curriculum to cultivate teenagers’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for making responsible choices and adopting a healthy lifestyle.







Following up on this topic, representatives of the National Academy of Education named after Y. Altynsarin (Astana, Kazakhstan) Almagul Mukhamedkhanova and Zhanna Zhakiyanova shared their experience of integrating such a course into the educational system and presented the teaching and learning materials developed with support from UNESCO IITE. In their presentation, they stressed the role of government institutions in creating a favorable environment for adolescents’ personal development and self-determination.

More thoughts on how schools can assist adolescents in making the right choices and achieving self-determination were shared by Victoria Velizhanina and Elmira Nigamatova, principal and deputy principal of the “French Gymnasium,” a school in Yekaterinburg, Russia, that serves as a hub for promoting the development of personal potential. According to the speakers, “A school should cultivate the right atmosphere, which involves a comfortable physical space alongside a supportive community of students, parents, and teachers.”

Irina Vinogradova, Candidate of Sciences in Psychology, Associate Professor, Senior Researcher at the Laboratory of Human Potential Development in Education at the Research Institute of Urban Studies and Global Education, Moscow City University, discussed how the school space, more specifically the process of its organization, can influence the development of an adolescent’s ability to make choices.

Colleagues from the supplementary education system made valuable contributions that sparked great interest, including discussions on how to assist adolescents’ self-determination in technology-related careers (Anna Mochalova, Kruzhok Association, head of career guidance program and “Talent NTO” contest) and in art (Lidiya Lobanova, co-founder, “Cascade: Project as Method” program for teenagers, director, Cryptography Museum; Stepan Ovchinnikov, curator of programs for engagement with schools at GES-2 House of Culture). Also, Anastasia Krivolapova (doctoral student, Institute of Pedagogy of St. Petersburg State University, project manager at ANPO “School League,” and “Growth Workshops” project coordinator) spoke about how to support students’ online learning.

An insightful survey of adolescents and young adults, highlighting the various social roles they envision for themselves in the future, was presented by Ksenia Myachina, expert, Directorate of Academic Partnerships at Sber.

Concluding the round table, Dmitry Sizarev, head of the “Products” section of the “Development Environment” program at the Investment to the  Future Charitable Foundation, and moderator of the session, shared links to the Foundation’s products for adolescents, including the updated “My Choice” mobile application.

“Our round table has left some questions unanswered, which means there will be further meetings and projects ahead!”

Dmitry Sizarev

About the conference “An Adolescent in the City”

Each year, the Non-profit Partnership for the Development of Children and Adolescents “Perekrestok Plus” conducts “An Adolescent in the City” conference to discuss various challenges faced by professionals helping young people, as well as the process of growing up and the daily lives of teenagers today.

The conference is organized in cooperation with:

  • Institute of Social Sciences of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA);
  • Institute of Education, National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE University);
  • Moscow State University of Psychology and Education (MSUPE);
  • UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE);
  • “Investment in the Future” Charitable Foundation, and other organizations.