On Monday, August 5th, 2013 Michelle Terazawa (an intern from Peace Boat US) attended an interactive dialogue event held in the General Assembly Hall at the United Nations that kicked off a series of celebrations for International Youth Day that will be commemorated on Monday, the 12th. This event was called UNiting for Youth+Social Good, organized by the Office of Special Envoy on Youth. In addition to statements from the Secretary General and the UN Special Envoy for Youth, a group of panelists from an inter agency network from the Middle East, Asia and Africa joined the dialogue to encourage youth to actively participate in the international realm of social good and striving for world peace.

ban-ki-moon-for-youthDuring this session there were live stream videos from five different nations: Nigeria, Brazil, Lebanon, Brussels and India that also participated.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon gave his statements and thoughts regarding how youth involvement and participation is imperative to the betterment of the world.

“Half of today’s population is constituted of people under the age of 25 and is the largest generation the world has ever seen. We strive to empower youth within and outside the United Nations. We have five principles in which we are strengthening every day:

1). Employment & Entrepreneurship

2). Political inclusion and participation

3). Civic engagement and the protection of human rights

4). Education and comprehensive sexual/reproductive education

5). Adequate Healthcare

“Education all around the world is at the top most priority. Putting every child into school (at least primary school) is the first step to eradicate poverty. Education can be a strong foundation to our world initiatives. Education can also help one to develop skills and knowledge. Most importantly education can help foster global citizenship. Without proper and adequate education, the rates of child marriage, prostitution, sexual violence and discrimination against women and girls remain high. There is still injustice prevailing; social, political, and economic inequality. In terms of providing education and healthcare, peoples’ voices can be heard. We count on today’s youth for their creative ideas, volunteerism, engagement and enthusiasm.”

A representative from an inter agency states that, “as a globalized world, complex socioeconomic and political troubles arise and change daily. Youth who take control can identify the problems and address them and peaceful solutions can be brought forth to create effectiveness, accountability and stability.”

Another representative states that, “economic empowerment, political participation and leadership is crucial to ending violence against women and girls.”

“We want to push the intergovernmental agency to uphold equality, environmental sustainability and all human rights standards. In order to build a knowledge base solution, we need to know the dimensions and complexity of the issue.”

Governments need to respect universal human rights for men, women, girls and boys, the elderly and handicapped. Most importantly governments must uphold the rule of law in order to be an honest and dignified system.

The creation of jobs, decent ones will impact the number of enterprise opportunities for social economy. Education, women empowerment and gender inequality all link together. Access to education and can inspire universal values that will shape our world. However, a major gender gap exists in education; girls are not having equal access simply because they are not valued enough and are not investment worth making citizens and we need to change that attitude. Education is the biggest enabler of sustainable development, peace and security, ending violence against women, the promotion and protection of human rights.

What does the UN promise to youth? We promise to ensure that youth have power and we are encouraged to be actively engaged socially, politically and economically as well. Please keep an open dialogue and communication so that we can try and help understand each other and be able to communicate in whatever way one feels comfortable and is able to do so effectively and respectfully.

“We own the future. Nothing about you will be without you. We have the possibility of creating a world that we want and to live happily, healthily with joy and fulfillment. Practice all values you want to see in the world.”

This post was created and published by Michelle (Intern from Peace Boat US)