This Sunday we will celebrate International Youth Day, and it’s particularly timely that this year’s theme is “Building a Better World: Partnering with Youth.” Secretary Clinton has made partnership a key part of her agenda. Young people comprise more than half the world’s population and we know that we must recognize them as genuine partners. We’ve seen that in countries where young people have opportunities to advance in business, civic participation, and education, societies are more stable.
Global youth, increasingly powered by new technologies, are among the foremost potential drivers of economic and social progress. The entrepreneurial spirit, energy, and creativity of young women and men is truly inspirational, as is their commitment to improving their local communities. As I connect with young people from around the world, I’m always impressed by the innovative solutions they are finding to address the many challenges affecting them.
International Youth Day is also a chance to think about how we can better serve youth by helping their voices to be heard, looking out for their security, and offering them greater economic opportunities. At the Department of State, we’re actively listening to youth around the world, including through 40 Youth Councils at our embassies and consulates. Many of these Youth Councils have implemented community-based solutions to local issues, from a community radio series highlighting youth role models to inspire positive social change to e-democracy platforms that give young people a voice in policymaking. And we’re finding ways to partner with other governments to seek ways to empower youth as change agents through policies and programs.
Civilian security is a critical part of what we do and protecting young people is an inherent part of that. From aiming to prevent gang violence and finding positive alternatives for youth susceptible to radicalization, to deterring the scourge of human trafficking and protecting its victims, to resettling young refugees, the Department of State has numerous programs designed to protect youth so that they can lead more secure and prosperous lives.
And we’re striving to give young people around the world greater economic opportunities. One way we are doing so is by partnering in a multi-sector global alliance in order to address the challenges of youth unemployment and increase opportunities for economic participation.
Partnership is essential to create a brighter future for the next generation. In honor of International Youth Day, we’re asking young people to tell us how they are joining together to build a better world. On Sunday, you can view their video messages on ourYouTube channel.
More information about International Youth Day can be found on the United Nations website.