From 17-22 April 2017, UNESCO and the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO are co-organizing an International Youth Forum in collaboration with the Municipalities of Changsha and Quanzhou, which will bring together young women and men from 65 countries along the Silk Roads. The objectives of the Forum are to promote youth advocacy on creativity and heritage protection and preservation, as well as to raise awareness among duty-bearers of the importance of youth full engagement in promoting peaceful coexistence and sustainable development.

Heritage implies something which has been conveyed or handed down from generation to generation. It is the transference of a legacy, a source of identity and cohesion for communities. Creativity contributes to building open, inclusive and pluralistic societies. Both heritage and creativity lay the foundations for vibrant, innovative and prosperous knowledge societies.

During the forum, young participants will be invited to visit exemplary creativity and heritage sites, to further deepen their engagement with experts from creative industries and heritage protection, to experience good practices in creativity, and to have an opportunity to discuss how youth can support and benefit from culture-based development.

In addition, participants will also have the opportunity to shape a scholarship and training programme on creativity and heritage for youth, and to explore and participate in the UNESCO project on the Creation of an Open Digital Library on Traditional Games.

The vision for this forum is to encourage and to raise awareness and build capacity in tomorrow’s decision-makers to participate actively in creativity and in heritage conservation on a local as well as on a global scale, and to mobilize exchanges and dialogue among the youth so as to build network of relationships which align with and support the objectives of Axis III of UNESCO Operational Strategy on Youth (2014-2021), engaging young women and men as active citizens toward democratic consolidation, sustainable communities and peace, and #Unite4Heritage, and celebrating and safeguarding cultural heritage and diversity around the world.