The youth is the hope of our future. -Jose Rizal
Youth is the time of life when one is young, but often means the time between childhood and adulthood (maturity). The specific age range that constitutes youth varies from one region to another.
International Youth Day (IYD) is an awareness day selected by the United Nations and observed worldwide on 12th August every year. The purpose of this day is to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding youth. Youth day is one of the many extensive efforts of the United Nations to help member states reach out to their youth and understand all challenges faced by them. Besides, it aims to promote ways to actively engage youth in making positive contributions to their communities.
IYD is also an annual celebration of the role of young people as the essential partners in change. Along with ensuring their rights, an equally important goal of IYD is to shape the youth not just as a passive beneficiary of development efforts, but as a force for positive social change.
As for today, IYD focuses on the rights of young people to have full access to education, adequate healthcare, employment opportunities, financial services and full participation in public life. In a climate of economic uncertainty, it is important for countries to invest in opportunities for their youth to learn, earn and grow so that the common future lies in good hands. During IYD, concerts, workshops, cultural events, and meetings involving national and local government officials as well as youth organizations take place around the world.
The theme of International Youth Day 2014 is ‘Mental Health Matters’ in which special focus will be given on the stigma and discrimination attached to the theme. Youth with mental health conditions often experience stigma and discrimination which can lead to exclusion and discourage them from seeking help due to the fear of being negatively ‘labeled’. Efforts are needed to overcome this stigma to ensure that young people with mental health conditions are able to enjoy full and healthy lives free of isolation.
Together with this year’s theme, we at World Assembly of youth encourage both Member States and the general public to understand the needs of young people, to implement policies to help them overcome the challenges they face, as well as to support young people and their contribution in the decision-making process. We also bring youth issues to the attention of the international community and realize the potential of youth as partners of betterment in today’s global society. Recognizing Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we believe in an equal opportunity to be given to all young people regardless their limitation. Thus, in line with this year’s International Youth Day, we would like to urge all stakeholders to work from grassroots level in calling to the end all kind of discrimination and stigma addressed to young people with mental health conditions.
Happy International Youth Day