The International Year of Youth is an opportunity to give young people a say in the world around them and how it is being shaped. This is reflected in the theme “Our Year, Our Voice”.

The 2010 International Youth Day celebrated on 12 August also marked the launch of the International Year of Youth. The theme for International Youth Day was ‘Dialogue and Mutual Understanding’, and reflected the value of dialogue among youth from different cultures as well as among different generations.

International Youth Day was celebrated at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York where they also launched the International Year of Youth with an event seen as a celebration of young peoples’ energy, imagination and initiatives. The UN recognised their important contributions to enhancing peace and development and saw the event is an opportunity for both the international community and the UN system to show their ongoing commitment to young people.

The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon said “Youth should be given a chance to take an active part in the decision-making of local, national and global levels.”

Key objectives for the International Year of Youth include:

  • Increased commitment and investment in youth
  • Increased youth participation and partnerships, and
  • Increased intercultural understanding among youth.

It is hoped that schools and youth organisations throughout the world will use this year as an opportunity to guide activities with young people that are related to youth and their issues.

Some of the suggestions for activities include:
Educational radio show – Contact popular local/national radio stations to request a slot to have a discussion with distinguished individuals and youth.
Organize a public meeting or debate – to discuss young people’s contributions to global issues.
Initiate round table discussions – among adults and young people to promote intergenerational understanding.
Organize a youth forum – to exchange ideas and discuss cultural backgrounds in order to help young people accept others and popularize a culture of non-violence.
Organize a concert – to promote International Youth Day and the launch of the Year. 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-related issues in the centre of town/village, at high schools, or at university centres.
Organize an exhibition – get permission to use a public space for an arts exhibit, which showcases the challenges of young people today or how young people are contributing to development.  Try to involve young people in the domains of culture, arts and music, to raise awareness on youth-related issues.
Write to your Minister of Youth – to inform him or her about the challenges young people face in their daily lives and to suggest solutions.

The International Year of Youth website has lots of information and material to support any ideas and activities. To use the logo for your event, read the guidelines for the logo and fill out the liability waiver form available for download on the site and check the International Year of Youth website for regular updates.

Writer Helen Splarn. Editor Dr Ramesh Manocha
Source: International Year of Youth