Celebrating the Power of Young People at the World Youth Conference in Mexico

Posted by Suzanne Hall
August 30, 2010
Youth Gather for 2010 Youth Olympics in Singapore

About the Author: Suzanne Hall serves as New Media Advisor for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

The young people of today are a population that cannot be overlooked: more than sixty percent of the world's population is under the age of thirty. Secretary Clinton has recognized that a foreign policy that ignores the impact of our decisions on young people is short-sighted. It is imperative that we mobilize young people as sources of positive change, energy, entrepreneurship, and commitment to global issues.

A major component of youth engagement is the critical and creative use of our public diplomacy tools around the world. Today's youth are the first generation to grow up in a networked world. Access to technologies is breaking down the traditional barriers of age, geography, gender, socioeconomic status, language, religion, and circumstance that previously prevented young people from feeling empowered. Youth, bolstered by today's technologies, are key to changing norms and building positive societies.

As this year has been marked the International Year of Youth, we have the incredible opportunity to promote dialogue and mutual understanding by and through young people all over the world. Last week in Leon, Mexico, hundreds gathered to celebrate the power and potential of young people at the World Youth Conference 2010. The United States sent a delegation to represent our country, including representatives from State, the Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Department of Education. We were also thrilled that a young university student from Tennessee, Josh Conor, could join our delegation, as well as Scott Warner, Executive Director of Generation Citizen, a non-governmental organization that encourages U.S. students to engage in the democratic process.

The U.S. delegation interacted with youth from more than 100 countries in Leon, and discussed critical issues including poverty, environment, education and gender equality. Together, the United States and other countries present pledged to support youth in a multitude of ways. At the close of the conference on Friday, August 27, participating governments, including the United States, signed a declaration underscoring their commitment to empowering youth.

The United States is focused on engaging young people to create long-term relationships as future leaders, amplifying credible voices, and empowering them to play more constructive roles within their own societies. Leon offered a perfect opportunity to listen and learn from both youth and government counterparts around the world. In weeks to come, we will be forming a youth task force at the State Department, and the lessons we learned in Leon will help us shape this group to have as much effect as possible.

Want to learn more about World Youth Conference 2010? Check out videos from the event here, follow @WHAAsstSecty on Twitter, and Facebook.

Related: Photo of the Week: Connecting the World, One Young Person at a Time



Sarah G.
District Of Columbia, USA
August 30, 2010

Sarah G. in Washington DC writes:

Thank you for sharing this event with us, Suzanne. It's pleasing to learn that the State Department is harnessing the power of new technologies to engage with youth across the world. I also love the colorful, energetic photo accompanying the blog entry.

Ric C.
August 30, 2010

Ric C. in Italy writes:

Wrt: Israeli's and Palestinian's.

The number one issue between the two parties is Borders. There are the 1947 UN recognized borders and the 1967 Israeli recognized War boundries. Sort this out and peace will follow.

Jason A.
Connecticut, USA
August 30, 2010

Jason A. in Connecticut writes:

Definitely an awesome event. So awesome, in fact, I'm planning on organizing a youth conference in my town for next year. I feel young adults like myself hear that the sky is the limit so much it's almost hard to believe. It's time to show them! I'm using the chance to motivate others as motivation for myself, anything is possible!

New York, USA
August 30, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

Best Future for Youth.....

The best future for Mexican youth is to stop the drugs/weapons and human traffickers who are destroying their chance for adulthood.

Nancy M.
Illinois, USA
August 31, 2010

Nancy M. in Illinois writes:

We also need to recognize the and promote information regarding the safety and security issues abroad. The number of non-natural causes of death in Mexico contributes 1/3 of all deaths abroad. Please search Brent Midlock for more specifics.

Vince L.
United Kingdom
September 11, 2010

Vince L. in the United Kingdom writes:

The United States of America being the World Super Power should take the lead in nurturing our future generations to be a Compassionate and Socially Responsible Global Citizen.


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