International Youth Day

Each year, 12th August is observed as the International Youth Day (IYD) across the globe. This day is an awareness day designated by the UN to draw attention to issues of the youth across the globe. The IYD was first observed on the 12th August 2000. A lot of countries across the globe look up to this day as a day to address the various cultural or legal issues of the younger generation. With more and more awareness coming about this day more countries will organise events on IYD 2018.

The IYD is not celebrated at any particular location. During IYD, various concerts, workshops, meetings, cultural events etc are organised around the world. In order to guide the celebrations of the IYD, the United Nations has also developed a framework approach highlighting three key objectives to guide the activities of the youth. The UN encourages youths across the globe to organise various events and spread the word using various social media channels to reach out to as many youth as possible. The UN suggests organising Educational radio show, or a musical concert, or an art exhibition that would showcase the challenges of the young people today.

Each year, the United Nations decides a theme for this day, with inputs from various youth organisations and members of the UN Inter-Agency Network in Youth development. In the year 2017, the theme for the IYD was “Youth Building Peace”. The main idea of this theme was to celebrate the young generation’s contributions to conflict avoidance and alteration, with core focus on social justice and sustainable peace across the globe. The theme for the 2018 IYD is “Safe Spaces for Youth”. The idea stems from the fact that youth today need safe spaces where they could get together to connect with each other and express their opinions or raise concerns associated with their varied needs and welfare. These safe spaces could be some public spaces specifically allotted to the youth to participate in sports or other leisure activities. Or they could be some community spaces where youth could take on governance issues. These safe spaces also could include digital spaces where youth across the globe could virtually connect with each other across the borders and discuss a plethora of issues.

Nelson Mandela stated – The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. The world today has a lot of young icons and leaders who have motivated the world with their words and actions. Malala Yousafzai rightly has said in her book “I am Malala” that “We realise the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” The youth today should be more vocal about their problems and it would only be after mindful brainstorming that they could come up with solutions that could impact and bring about a change in the current scenarios. Michelle Obama has been a staunch advocate of education for the younger generation. She believes that if girls of a generation are educated, their countries become stronger and more prosperous. She has also been quoted saying that “Empower yourself with good education, then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise.”

Elon Musk, the Co-founder of Paypal and Tesla Motors was quoted saying that “I can either watch it happen or be a part of it.” So, let us come together on this International Youth Day and be a part of the change, and bring about the change for the world to be a better place for us and our coming generations.

Laura Vanessa Munoz, Founder at Empowering Futures, strongly believes that building spaces for youth to develop soft skills is crucial for our society. “We need to provide youth with the opportunities and spaces to develop soft skills such as collaboration, empathy and teamwork for our global societies to thrive”

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