Celebrating International Youth Day

Posted by Ronan Farrow
August 13, 2011
Youths Walking in Belarus

Today is International Youth Day (IYD), marking the close of the United Nations' International Year of Youth -- but not of America's commitment to young people.

The theme for International Youth Day is "Change Our World" -- an accurate description of the role youth have played in reshaping the global landscape this year. Young people have been drivers of innovation and of economic and social progress. They have also been one of the great challenges to regional stability and security: 86 percent of all countries experiencing a new outbreak of civil conflict have populations with a significant majority under 30. At the State Department, we have recognized that and launched the Office of Global Youth Issues. Created by Secretary Clinton as a result of a Department-wide review of youth policy, that office is overseeing an historic effort to empower young people as economic and civic actors through U.S. programs, encourage governments to respond to youth through U.S. diplomacy, and directly engage young people around the world.

America is doing its part to create environments where young people can have a voice and a source of livelihood. We are working directly to foster young people that are leading peacefully in their communities. I'm inspired by young people like Shamshad Hussein, who, after participating in a State Department scholarship program that brings foreign students to U.S. community colleges, returned home to Pakistan to build an English-language training program in the remote Gilgit-Baltistan region. Samat Panov who studied with a grant from the U.S. government returned to his native Kazakhstan and led local initiatives to train young business leaders.

Elsewhere, the Yemen Student Councils project has established councils for youths in hundreds of schools across that country and familiarizes young people with community participation and the basics of democracy. Meanwhile, the Yes Youth Can Initiative in Kenya features an innovative youth-led and managed social innovation fund.

And we are keeping young people front and center in our discussions with the international community. Last month, I had the honor of speaking at the United Nations High-level Meeting on Youth, where I met with government officials from around the world and felt firsthand the growing global understanding that our responsiveness to our young people is at the very core of our prosperity and stability.

This International Youth Day, let's celebrate those great young leaders making their voices heard loud and clear for peace and progress; and let's join arms with them to create opportunities for young people all around the world to make their voices heard.

Related Content: Remarks by Ronan Farrow, Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for Global Youth Issues, at a High Level Meeting on Youth, in the General Assembly



George C.
New York, USA
August 16, 2011

George in New York writes:

The guy in the middle of that picture seems to be asking himself, "Which of these women will I be skinning alive tonight?" Seriously, how did that guy get into that picture?

Adriana M.
District Of Columbia, USA
September 2, 2011

Adriana M. in Washington, D.C. writes:

How can I contact you, Mr Farrow?

Please let me know.


Latest Stories