International Youth Day 2013

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Youth celebrate International Youth Day 2013

IYD 2013


International Youth Day 2013 was widely celebrated across the world on 12 August 2013. Youth and youth-led organizations, Member States and others celebrated the day in context of their local, national and regional realities, to raise awareness among the youth on issues relevant to them. The Focal Point on Youth of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) congratulate youth and youth organizations for their efforts and initiatives to make the celebration a success!! 

International Youth Day commemoration 2013

International Youth Day (IYD) was established by the United Nations as a means of raising awareness of issues affecting young people around the world.  Every year, in commemoration of IYD, United Nations and other organizations, including youth organizations organize public information activities to promote better awareness, especially among youth, of the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY). Like every year, hundreds of youth organizations took actions and organized numerous events across the globe. To celebrate the day, the Focal Point on Youth of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) organized the official United Nations event at the United Nations Headquarters on 12 August 2013.

The Theme: Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward


This year’s theme of International Youth Day was Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward. While number of young migrants amongst total international migration is staggering, very little is known about these young people. The IYD celebration 2013 was hoped to offer some visibility to the lives of these young migrants through organizing commemoration events on the theme across the globe.

Youth Celebrate IYD at the United Nations Headquarters


The Focal Point on Youth celebrated the day at the United Nations Headquarters with an event that allowed young people to dialogue on issues related to youth migration and development. This year the event was co-organized with the International Labour Organization with support from the MDG (Millennium Development Goals) Achievement Fund.

The purpose of this year’s event was to bring together all relevant stakeholders, primarily youth, to share their knowledge and experiences related to youth migration and to initiate a fruitful dialogue with young people on the topic. Hundreds of young people along with representatives from Member States, civil society, and UN entities attended to the event. The programme was live webcasted on UN WebTV and also featured on UN Radio. The event was live-tweeted and many young people around the world followed and re-tweeted live feeds of the event.

IYD 2013

The event presented Secretary-General’s message on the day, featured a series of panel discussions, and screened award-winning videos on youth migration and development. In his message, the Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon emphasized on the importance of “the positive contribution young migrants make to societies of origin, transit and destination – economically and by enriching the social and cultural fabric”.

Click here for the Secretary-General’s Message on International Youth Day 2013

Youth perspectives at the United Nations

An interactive panel discussion was the core of the day’s programme at the United Nations Headquarters, where young migrants and activists shared their experiences with migration. The panel featured distinguished youth speakers including a young refugee, an undocumented young migrant, a second-generation immigrant youth and a young activist working on migration. The panellists shared their own stories on migration that informed the audiences on the practicality of risks and opportunities young migrants face during their migration process. Presentations from the young panellists were followed by a Q&A session where young audiences engaged themselves in interactive dialogues with the speakers.  


Another panel discussion featured the recent research and experiences from Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), International Labour Organization (ILO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on the situation of youth migrants.

Videos: voices of youth

A number of videos on youth migration were screened in the event, which include videos from the Plural+ Youth video festival, jointly organized by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM); a United Nations video titled “Akhter’s Story on a refugee girl from Afghanistan; and the winning video of the International Labour Organization’s contest on youth labour migration. In the event, the International Labour Organization introduced Ms. Laura Garciandia, the winner of their video contest on “Youth labour migration: reaping the benefits, minimizing the risks”.

Video on Akhter’s Story

Plural+ video festival

Winning video of ILO video contest on youth labour migrants

Find your activity!! Global mapping of IYD celebration  

The International Youth Day was commemorated globally as many youth organizations took initiatives and organized numerous events in celebrating the day.  The focal point on youth created a map to show global actions related to 2013 International Youth Day celebrations. Many youth organizations shared their information on celebration of the day, which was included in the map.

The map can be found here

The map currently features many events, and each one is unique in its programme and method for engaging youth.  Several of the programmes include photo competitions, where youths were encouraged to takes pictures of their communities and to compete against others for prizes.  Some events involved discussions with youth ministers and informative sessions on issues most important to young people.  Some events engaged youth population in volunteering in their local communities.

Congratulations to all of you for your initiatives!


More information on the Focal Point on Youth


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What can you do on International Youth Day?

To commemorate the Day, you are encouraged to organize events or activities in your community.  Please share your commemoration with the world! Send in a description of your planned activities to

The most creative activities will be featured on the United Nations website to provide a sense of how International Youth Day is being celebrated around the world!

Below, some ideas about what you can do in you community and how you can effectively spread the message:

Educational radio or TV show Contact popular local/national radio or TV stations to request a slot to have a discussion with distinguished individuals and youth migrants.

Organize a public meeting or debate to discuss the risks and benefits of youth migration and the innovative ways youth can tackle the challenges of migration at the in local, national, and international level.

Organize a Google+ Hangout to bring together young people and relevant stakeholders from all over the world to discuss experiences of youth migration.

Initiate round table discussions among adults and young people to promote intergenerational understanding and partnerships on the issue of youth migration.

Organize a youth forum to exchange ideas and discuss the social, economic and cultural backgrounds of migrants in order to help young people accept others and popularize a culture of non-violence and tolerance.

Organize a concert on youth migration and development to promote International Youth Day. 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 migration-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 migrants today or how young migrants including returnees are contributing to development at home and abroad.  Try to involve young people in the domains of culture, arts and music, to raise awareness on youth migration related issues.

Write to your minister of youth to inform him or her about the challenges young migrants, potential youth migrants and other youth face in their daily lives and to suggest solutions.


Make an impact!

What fires you up on youth migration and development?

Why not consider focusing one of the issues below for your activity:

  • How can youth embark on safe migration?
  • What are the dangers of irregular migration?
  • What are the rights of young migrants?
  • What role can youth in the diaspora play in promoting development at home and abroad?
  • What is the status of young women in migration and development?
  •  How can youth promote positive public perceptions on migration and migrants?
  • How does migration affect youth who are left behind by migrant parents?
  • What are the benefits and risks of youth migration?