ON December 17th1999, the UN General Assembly designated August 12thas International Youth Day. The day serves as an annual celebration of young women and men, the vital role they play in society as well as provide a platform to address and raise awareness for the challenges and issues facing the world’s youth. Often youths and millennials are the subject of harsh critique and their issues are largely ignored by the media and politicians. Over the years the themes have differed to address the important issues affecting the youth population, some of the themes have included ‘Youth and Mental Health’ (2014), ‘Youth and Climate Change, Time for Action’ (2008), and ‘Addressing Health and Unemployment’ (2001).
The 2019 theme is “Transforming education”. “There are currently 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world. This is the largest youth population ever. However, more than half of all children and adolescents aged 6-14 lack basic reading and maths skills, despite the fact that the majority of them are attending school.” This quote from the UN website highlights why the theme for this years International Youth Day is so critical and why now more than ever as a society we need to act when it comes to education. Something that is often taken for granted in the developed world, education plays a vital role in empowering the youth of today to have the tools to become the leaders of tomorrow. Education is also pivotal in ensuring that those who are less fortunate in society still have a voice in society and an avenue to succeed. So as we celebrate International Youth Day 2019, let us better educate ourselves about how we can make a difference, how we can transform the conversation and how we can change lives.