Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of the International Youth Day, 12 August 2012
On this 2012 International Youth Day, let us acknowledge the power for peace and development of young women and men across the world. Young people will inherit the world tomorrow, but they are already changing it today.
Half of the world’s population is under 25. The challenges they face are steep. They are hardest hit by the world’s inequalities and injustices. Too many live in poverty, unable to realize their potential. Too few are gaining the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to find employment in rapidly changing job markets, where the capacity to learn and adapt is essential. This is a political priority everywhere, and it calls for carefully constructed policies
Young people are a wellspring of ideas for innovation. They are today’s thinkers, problem- solvers and catalysts for peace. They are often the world’s strongest advocates of justice and dignity. But they need good jobs, quality education and access to culture for all. They need to be heard and they need to be included.
UNESCO is working at all of these levels. We support young people in developing the intercultural skills they need to live in an age of diversity. We work with youth and student organizations to develop and implement youth-driven programmes.
We act across the world to strengthen education systems in order to provide young people with relevant, inclusive and quality learning. This includes attributing greater priority to technical and vocational education and training. This was the key message of the 3rd International Congress on Technical and Vocational Education and Training, held in Shanghai on 13-16 May. Education, employment and empowerment are our core messages as we seek to build green societies and economies for a more sustainable century.
On this day, I call on all Governments, youth organizations and the international community to mobilize and to engage young people in the policy-making that affects them. This is essential for building sustainable, peaceful and prosperous societies