Did you know that 2011 is a special year, yes it is the year India became the Cricket World Champions again after 28 long years, and if you happen to be a Wisconsinite then it’s the year the Packers became the Super Bowl Champions; but what I am referring to is the fact that the UN declared 2010-2011 as the International Year of Youth. Well it’s not something to be very excited about but it’s definitely something to think about and maybe do something to commemorate it.
The UN defines youth as those between the ages of 15 to 24. Today, youth represent 18% of the global population viz. 1.2 billion people. An overwhelming 87% of these youth live in developing countries facing challenges brought about by limited access to resources, healthcare, education, training, employment and economic opportunities. Considering that these individuals constitute the emerging population of the world, it’s imperative that we focus on their development to ensure a better world for tomorrow. To this end the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution A/RES/64/134 proclaiming the year commencing on 12 August 2010 as the International Year of Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding. The International Year of Youth is an opportunity to advocate on behalf of youth in our country or community and to promote dialogue and mutual understanding among youth and the decision-makers in our community, region or country.
Here are three ways in which we can make this year count for the development of youth around us.
- Creating awareness: Promoting youth development as a smart investment by the public and private sectors. Advocating for the recognition of young people’s contributions to national and community development.
- Mobilizing and Engaging: Establishing mechanisms by which youth can participate in decision making processes. Supporting youth-led organizations and initiatives to enhance their contribution to society. Promoting partnerships between youth led organizations and other established organizations.
- Connecting and building bridges: Promoting youth interactions, networks and partnerships across cultures. Empowering and supporting youth as agents of social change.
This year let’s pledge to promote the ideals of peace, freedom, progress and solidarity towards the promotion of youth development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
– Abraham Pabbathi