“Youth deserve our full commitment – full access to education, adequate healthcare, employment opportunities, financial services and full participation in public life” Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon announced at the official launch of the International Year of Youth on the 12 of August – the International Day of Youth – at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The Internationl Year, which will run through 12 August 2011, has the theme of Dialogue and Mutual Understanding. The progress achieved during this year will lay the foundation for further work in youth development, including the implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth and the achievement of the MDGs.
“Adults have much to learn from children and young people” Mr. Ban stressed. “The energy of youth can spark economies….The idealism and creativity of youth are some of the greatest resources” he added.
Echoing the invaluable contribution of youth, youth representative Ms. Maya Saoud emphasized that “More often than not, young people are marginalized, silenced or simply neglected….We need to utilize youth for the sake of our collective future.”
The International Youth Day celebrations around the world are intended to unite and celebrate the contributions of over 300 million youth worldwide, and raise awareness about the power of their voice. In this spirit, the celebration of International Youth Day at United Nations Headquarters included an array of displays of the ingenuity young people, including performances, youth-produced videos, and photography projects.
A youth photography exhibit in the UN visitors’ lobby entitled Visual Voices: youth perspectives on global issues will be open to the public until early September.
The global launch event which took place in the General Assembly Hall was organized by various UN entities, including the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development and DESA’s UN Programme on Youth.