Did you have a happy International Youth Day over the weekend?
Because every year, 12 August is all about you(th).
It’s a day to celebrate the next generation, the young adults who are shaping the world of the future, set up by the UN, no less, in 1999.
Lots of events happened around the world, and in the UK, but there’s a more powerful aspect to International Youth Day. The theme of International Youth Day 2017 is Youth Building Peace, and is dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace.
As the UN states: ‘As agents of change, young people’s inclusion in the peace and security agenda and in society more broadly, is key to building and sustaining peace.’
As well as being a day of fun and celebration of youth, the day reaffirms the important role youth can play in deterring and resolving conflicts, and how young people are key to ensuring the success of both peacekeeping and peace-building efforts around the globe.
We think this makes young people sound like superheroes. And in many ways, we are.
By participating in initiatives in our local community, we have the opportunity to represent people our own age in decision making at all levels. The louder our voices are heard, the more they will resonate with the powers that be. And this can rise right to the top. In fact, through its ‘World Programme of Action for Youth’, the UN encourages “promoting the active involvement of youth in maintaining peace and security” which can improve the situation of young people around the world, both now and in the future.
This is an amazing time to be young. Gone are the days of ‘speak when you’re spoken to’ or the like. Young people are recognised an ambassadors for the future.
As you probably know, LMYF has been supporting, encouraging and empowering young people and young Muslims in Leeds since 2005. Over the last 12 years we’re proud to have helped many of them become outstanding members of the Muslim community, as ambassadors and shining examples to their peers.
LMYF provides young Muslims with a range of support and development opportunities which enable them to become more active within their community, and have a positive influence on others.
This echoes the vision for International Youth Day. We, like the UN, aim to help young people feel empowered and take control of their lives.