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International Youth Day on August 12 focuses on the difficulties that some young people are experiencing throughout the world. Half the children between the age of six and 13 lack basic reading and math skills and childhood poverty is still a prevalent problem globally. International Youth Day was created by the UN to help draw awareness to these issues as we strive to find solutions. It’s a day for reflection but also a day for taking action so get involved. There’ll be many concerts, workshops and cultural events taking place so have a look at what is happening in your local area.
History of International Youth Day
In 1965 the United Nations General Assembly began making a concerted effort to impact the youth. They endorsed the Declaration on the Promotion among Youth of the Ideals of Peace, Mutual Respect and Understanding between Peoples. They began devoting time and resources to empower the youth by recognizing up-and-coming leaders and offering them resources to meet the needs of the world.
On December 17, 1999, the UN General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, and International Youth Day was formed. It was first celebrated on August 12, 2000, and ever since the day has been used to educate society. Mobilize the youth in politics, and manage resources to address global problems.
The day is often accompanied by major events. In 2013 an International Youth Conference was hosted by YOUTHINK, featuring many key speakers and an awards ceremony. More recent events have been hosted by the Indian Youth Cafe in Chennai. The theme for 2019 was “transforming education.”
International Youth Day timeline
The oldest youth organization, The Key Club, began at Sacramento High School to contend against the negative effects of the fraternities and social clubs.
The UN endorses the first Declaration on the Promotion among Youth of the Ideals of Peace, Mutual Respect and Understanding between Peoples that promotes the development of youth.
The first International Youth Day is celebrated August 12 after it was designated by the United Nations General Assembly the previous year.
The theme for International Youth Day in 2019 is “transforming education.”
International Youth Day FAQs
Who started International Youth Day?
The UN General Assembly started it in 1999.
What is the purpose of International Youth Day?
To raise awareness of any issues that may be facing the world’s youth to celebrate their achievements.
How do you join the UN Youth?
Write to your minister of foreign affairs with a list of your superlatives as a youth delegate and request further discussion.
How To Celebrate International Youth Day
Attend an International Youth Day event
Attend an International Youth Day. There are concerts, sporting events, parades, and mobile exhibitions that showcase young people's achievements. You'll feel inspired by their talent and entertained at the same time.
Lend a helping hand
The best thing that we can offer kids is education. Look into mentorship programs and discover what you can impart to the next generation. There are big brother and big sister programs, music programs, assisting with speech therapy, and more.
Have an intergenerational discussion
Get involved and start a round-table discussion between adults and young people. This can be between parents and children or students and teachers. Come up with topics revolving around the theme of the year and really listen to what the younger generation has to say.
Five Facts About International Youth Day
The World Health Organization is developing global standards for health within schools.
16 million kids in the US struggle with hunger each year.
Children and adolescents should do an hour or more of physical activity each day.
Music that matters
Youth Ambassador Mohammed Assaf is a Palestine refugee and uses his music to give messages of hope to young Palestine refugees.
At 25 years old Rita Kimani of Kenya is the co-founder of FarmDrive which connects unbanked and underserved smallholder farmers to credit.
Why We Love International Youth Day
It focuses on building a better world for our children
International Youth Day does more than simply encouraging kids directly. It also lays out a set of priorities to focus on creating tangible improvements in children’s lives. The fifteen priorities created by the UN include areas of focus like reducing cases of HIV/AIDS, fighting childhood hunger, and providing more access to education.
It raises awareness about poverty
Many children go to bed hungry each night, or head to school in the morning without a nutritious breakfast to help them stay focused in class. In the United States alone, 13.1 million kids live in food insecure-homes, which means that they and their families don’t have access to enough nutritious food to lead healthy lives. Children in other countries around the world face similar hardships, and many can find themselves trapped in a cycle of poverty that is difficult to break free from as they grow into adults. The more aware we are of these issues, the faster we can work together to help eradicate them.
It encourages creative thinking for a better future
International Youth Day’s list of actionable priorities encourages others to think about specific things they can do to make a tangible difference in kids’ lives. In recent writings about International Youth Day, the UN has put a strong focus on reducing pollution, sustainably using local products and services so they’ll remain available for the next generation and ensuring as many communities as possible will have access to resources. Naming such ambitious — but doable — goals serve as inspiration for all of us to think hard about efficient steps we can take to make them happen.
International Youth Day dates