9 August 2005


Press Release
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

International Youth Day observance at UN headquarters


to give a youthful voice to development

NEW YORK, 9 August -- International Youth Day will be observed on 12 August in countries around the world.  At United Nations Headquarters, day-long activities will highlight young people as a force for positive change and development.

Youth Day celebrations in New York will commence with city-wide youth basketball games that will conclude in the afternoon with boys’ and girls’ championship games played at Robert Moses playground, across from United Nations Headquarters, in the presence of National Basketball Association star Dikembe Mutombo, a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador and Youth Emissary.  At the United Nations, New York students will join international peers in an event at 2 p.m. at the Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium that will include messages from Secretary-General Kofi Annan and New York City Mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg and performances by young artists.  Interactive discussions will encourage young participants to share their views and experiences on issues ranging from education to employment, environment, gender and HIV/ AIDS.  The day’s events are organized through collaboration between the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the New York City Departments of Youth and Community Development and Parks and Recreation, the non-profit organization Directions for Our Youth, National Basketball Association and Consolidated Edison.

A highlight of the Youth Day observance will be the opening of a photographic exhibition entitled “Chasing the Dream:  Youth faces of the MDGs” at 6 p.m. in the United Nations Visitor’s Lobby.  The exhibition brings viewers face to face with eight young people from different parts of the world.  Their stories provide insight into the daily realities faced by youth, as they pursue their dreams for a better life.  Opening the exhibition will be Thoraya Obaid, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Nane Annan.  During the event, Roberta Flack, the popular singer and international performing artist, will perform.  The exhibit is a United Nations inter-agency initiative spearheaded by the UNFPA in conjunction with DESA, the Economic Commission for Africa, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Millennium Campaign, the World Bank and Youth Employment Network (YEN), with support from the Government of Finland.  It is curated and produced by PixelPress.

2005 is an important year for youth at the United Nations.  The theme for the Youth Day celebrations, “Making Commitments Matter:  Reviewing Ten Years of the World Programme of Action for Youth” reflects the importance of making youth voices heard throughout the organization.  The United Nations General Assembly will hold two plenary meetings on 6 October to mark the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the World Programme of Action for Youth.  During these meetings, governments will review achievements, as well as obstacles to its implementation. In September, the Assembly will also conduct its five-year review of progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals -- the eight global objectives agreed by world leaders in 2000 -- that set targets for 2015.  With over 200 million youth living in poverty, 130 million illiterate, 88 million unemployed and 10 million living with HIV/AIDS, achieving the goals will have direct benefits for young people.

“Leaders need to be reminded of their promise to translate the Millennium Development Goals into reality.  That is where young people like you come in.  Your voices can hold leaders to those pledges -- at the 2005 Summit and beyond”, said Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General in his message on International Youth Day.

Several countries including Egypt, Ghana, Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uganda are also gearing up for observances.  International Youth Day was endorsed by a resolution of the General Assembly in 1999 (A/RES/54/120) as a means to promote greater awareness, especially among youth, of the World Programme of Action for Youth.

For more information on International Youth Day, please visit: or e-mail or contact:  Oisika Chakrabarti, United Nations Department of Public Information, tel.:  212 963 8264, e-mail:

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.