The United Nations’ (UN) International Youth Day is celebrated on August 12 each year to recognize efforts of the world’s youth to enhance the global society. It is a way to promote and engage youth in becoming more actively involved in making positive contributions to their communities.
What UNESCO does on International Youth Day?
The UNESCO Youth Programme emphasizes in its work that youth are not just beneficiaries, but they are essential leaders and partners in finding solutions to the issues faced by young people in the world today. They must be fully engaged in social development themselves and supported in this work by their societies. In line with its Operational Strategy on Youth 2014-2021, the UNESCO Youth Programme works to create an enabling environment in which this goal can be achieved, by bringing youth voices to the fore and encouraging young people to act.
History of International Youth Day
The UN defines the worlds’ youth as the age group between 15 and 24 years old, making up one-sixth of the human population. Many of these young men and women live in developing countries and their numbers are expected to rise steeply. The idea for International Youth Day was proposed in 1991 by young people who were gathered in Vienna, Austria, for the first session of the UN’s World Youth Forum. The forum recommended that an International Youth Day be declared, especially for fundraising and promotional purposes, to support the United Nations Youth Fund in partnership with youth organizations.
In 1998 a resolution proclaiming August 12 as International Youth Day was adopted during the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth. That recommendation was later endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 1999. International Youth Day was first observed in 2000. One of the year’s highlights was when eight Latin American and Caribbean youth and youth-related organizations received United Nations World Youth Awards in Panama City, Panama.
How to celebrate International Youth Day?
There are many events and activities take place on this day as many countries participate in this global event, which may include youth conferences on issues such as education and employment. Other activities include concerts promoting the world’s youth, as well as various sporting events, parades and mobile exhibitions that showcase young people’s achievements.