On 18 December 2009, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution (resolution A/RES/64/134) proclaiming the year commencing on 12 August 2010 as the International Year of Youth on the theme ‘’Dialogue and Mutual Understanding’’. The theme reflects the General Assembly’s appreciation of the value of dialogue among youth from different cultures as well as among different generations, the importance of dialogue among youth from different cultures, generations and economic background, and the need for breakthrough thinking by stakeholders to empathically integrate youth in the decision making process through youth mainstreaming. This year’s International Youth Day is a particularly important day for youth around the world.
International Youth Day will be celebrated at United Nations headquarters in New York with the global launch event of the International Year of Youth. The event will be a celebration of young peoples’ energy, imagination and initiatives and will recognize their crucial contributions to enhancing peace and development. The event is an opportunity for the international community and the UN system to demonstrate their commitment to young people. But it will also be a fun occasion with musical guests and performances. A photo exhibit entitled “Visual Voices – Youth perspectives on Global Issues” will be inaugurated in the UN visitors lobby. The exhibit will be open to the public until early September. In addition to the global launch event at UN Headquarters, there will be celebrations all over the world, which will highlight opportunities and challenges for youth throughout the International Year of Youth in different regions and countries.
On August 11, in Cameroon, the Minister of Youth Affairs made a press announcement of the event and today he is launching with UN agencies based in the country the international Day and Year. Hundreds of young people are attending these events and started to celebrate their Year and Day in order to join in the festivities with other youth from around the globe!
Read below the Message from Ban Ki-Moon the Secretary General of the United Nations on 12th August 2010 for the official launching of the celebration:
« This year’s commemoration of International Youth Day also marks the launch of the International Year of Youth, under the theme “Dialogue and Mutual Understanding”.
Today’s challenging social and economic environment warrant a special focus on youth. Eighty-seven per cent of people aged 15 to 24 live in developing countries. The global economic crisis has had a disproportionate impact on young people; they have lost jobs, struggled to find even low-wage employment and seen access to education curtailed. As economies slowly begin to stabilize, the needs of young people should be paramount.
This is a moral imperative and a developmental necessity. But it is also an opportunity: the energy of youth can ignite faltering economies.
I am regularly inspired by the good will, talent and idealism of the young people I meet across the world. They are making important contributions to our work to eradicate poverty, contain the spread disease, combat climate change and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. I call on Member States to increase their investments in young people so they can do even more.
During the International Year, the United Nations and its youth organization partners will focus on the need to encourage dialogue and understanding across generations, cultures and religions. In a world in which different peoples and traditions are coming into closer, more frequent contact than ever before, it is crucial that young people learn how to listen intently, empathize with others, acknowledge divergent opinions, and be able to resolve conflicts. Few endeavors are more important than nurturing these skills, and educating young people about human rights, for in them we not only see the next generation of leaders, but also crucial stakeholders of today. Let us also recognize that older generations themselves stand to learn a great deal from the experiences and examples of young people as they come of age in a world of accelerating interconnectedness.
As we launch this International Year, let us acknowledge and celebrate what youth can do to build a safer, more just world. Let us strengthen our efforts to include young people in policies, programmes and decision-making processes that benefit their futures and ours. »
This is how You Can Celebrate It !
To guide the celebrations of the International Year of Youth, the United Nations has developed the Framework Approach highlighting three key objectives for the Year, namely: increased commitment and investment in youth, increased youth participation and partnerships, and increased intercultural understanding among youth. Use these objectives to guide your activities related to youth. The complete Framework Approach is available at www.social.un.org/youthyear Here are things You Can Do in your community and how you can effectively spread the message. Make it fun and relatable and use all your channels to spread the message. Think Facebook, Twitter, university newsletters, local newspapers.
- Educational radio show. Contact popular local/national radio stations to request a slot to have a discussion with distinguished individuals and youth.
- Organize a public meeting or debate to discuss young people’s contributions to global issues.
- Initiate round table discussions among adults and young people to promote intergenerational understanding.
- Organize a youth forum to exchange ideas and discuss cultural backgrounds in order to help young people accept others and popularize a culture of non-violence.
- Organize a concert to promote International Youth Day and the launch of the Year. Invite your local musicians and combine it with a panel discussion or invite a politician or policy maker to hold the key note speech.
- Create an “info point” about youth-related issues in the center of town/village, at high schools, or at university centers.
- Organize an exhibition. Get permission to use a public space for an arts exhibit, which showcases the challenges of young people today or how young people are contributing to development. Try to involve young people in the domains of culture, arts and music, to raise awareness on youth-related issues.
- Write to your Minister of Youth to inform him or her about the challenges young people face in their daily lives and to suggest solutions. A list of Ministers of Youth can be found at www.un.org/youth.