Youth, Divine Treasure

Written by Alicia Rando, TDN Cross-cultural Youth Exchange Fellow

New York, NY (August 2021) – We currently have the largest youth population in history. According to UN data, in the world there are about 1.2 billion young people between the ages of 15 and 24, 16% of the world’s population. And it is a fragile group that must be protected, but at the same time, with a great potential.

Many of them live in conflict zones; others find it difficult to access the labor market or housing. It is not easy for them to participate in politics or in groups with social influence, which makes it difficult for them to be able to fight for a more just society to develop as whole people. There are many organizations that have tried, and in most cases succeeded, to channel youthful momentum, freshness, the need to want to cover everything even if they then focus on concrete actions.

“Youth, Divine Treasure…,” with this verse begins the poem “Canción de otoño en primavera” (“Song of autumn in spring”) by the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío in which, with a general tone of longing, he refers to the theme of the loss of youth and the feeling of melancholy that it produces.

Youth as a treasure that celebrates its International Day declared by the UN in 1999 on August 12th. A date that seeks to achieve the participation of young people in all areas of society, to solve the challenges that youth face every day and to recognize the efforts of the world’s youth in the betterment of global society. It also aims to promote ways to engage children and young adults to become more actively involved in making positive contributions to their communities.

Youth, a divine treasure to whoever knows how to take advantage of it. You are no longer a child, you are not an adult yet; it is an intermediate phase in a person’s life. A transitional stage in which young people conform themselves to their own personality and in which they begin to make their own decisions in relation to friends, leisure, studies, even the labor market. They apply their free spirit wherever they go and, at times, channel it through organizations that extol their concerns and strengthen their claiming power. Whatever the cause and whatever it is. And they have to hit the right association. Exchange ideas, take action, share that healthy and immaculate leadership for the first time.

There are and have been many topics of interest in the youth field, but this year the theme of the International Youth Day 2021 has been, “Transforming food systems: Youth innovation for the health of human beings and the planet”, which wants to highlight the success of that global effort that will not be achieved without the meaningful participation of young people, drawing attention to the need for the development of more equitable and resilient food systems, restoring the planet and protecting life, while integrating biodiversity into the transformation of food systems.

In short, engaging young people as agents of action at the international level, focusing on their participation at the local, national and global levels in institutions, in addition to drawing lessons on how the representation and participation of youth in politics can be improved.

There are less than 10 years left until the 2030 Sustainable Developmnt Goals (SDGs) become a reality for everyone. At a time when public institutions are eroding and when internationally we live in an increasingly polarized world, young people are the engine of global change. Thus, allowing young people to participate in politics increases democratic equity and the development of more sustainable strategies, as well as restoring their trust in public institutions.

Today’s great challenges such as the COVID-19 crisis and climate change require a concerted action from the youngest because, in addition, they are the ones who have been most affected by these situations, causing unemployment, poverty and marginalization.

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