UN Youth Meeting for a Better Tomorrow

Oriana Bellucci, Author

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UN Youth Meeting for a Better Tomorrow
This past September 25th, the United Nations (UN) held a meeting of global leaders from all over the world. The meeting, organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, aimed to address a very important topic in today’s society: the youth. The UN delegates discussed education and self-leadership for the youth of today, creating the idea of “Youth 2030”. This ambitious agenda sets a goal for the year 2030: a more peaceful and prosperous world, where today’s youth lead the way.

This appeal to young people has been attempted before, without great success. However, the UN is now hoping to reach younger people by empowering their ideas, supporting them, and making sure they all have equal opportunities to fulfill their abilities. UN chief Antonio Guterres highlighted their new strategies to engage with and empower young people. The UN has identified 5 key areas in which they plan on working:
· Opening new ways to involve the youth and amplify their voices
· Strengthening the UN’s focus on accessible education and health services for youth around the world
· Placing economic empowerment at the fore of development strategies for young people, with a focus on training and jobs
· Working to ensure young people’s rights, and civic and political engagement
· Prioritizing support for young people in conflict and in humanitarian crises, including their participation in peace processes.

Within the “Youth 2030” idea, another project called “Generation Unlimited” or “Gen-U” focuses on ways to make sure young people around the world are receiving education. Speaking on behalf of Youth 2030 and Gen-U were several guests known to teenagers, including the globally recognized, 7-member South Korean boy group known as BTS (방탄소년단). They have partnered with UNICEF on the “Love Myself” campaign against domestic childhood violence and mistreatment. Group leader Kim Namjoon, led the group’s speech. He described himself as a child with innocence and imagination, until he started worrying more about others’ opinions than his own. “I used to imagine that I was a superhero who could save the world,” he said. “In an intro to one of our early albums, there’s a line that says, ‘My heart stopped when I was maybe nine or ten.’ Looking back, I think that’s when I began to worry about what other people thought of me, and started seeing myself through their eyes.” His escape from the world he felt like a ghost in, he continued, was music.“Tell me your story,” the young pop star said, addressing the youth of the world as he finished his speech. “I want to hear your voice, and I want to hear your conviction. No matter who you are, where you’re from, your skin color, your gender identity, just speak yourself. Find your name and find your voice by speaking yourself… What is your name? Speak yourself.”

Another youth ambassador who is a celebrity in the YouTube community is Lilly Singh, also known as “Superwoman”. She spoke to the UN on the rights young people worldwide should have for equal access to education and technology. “I’m united with each and every one of you, to help create a world where every young person is empowered. Where every young person is educated and where every young person is skilled and prepared to fulfill their full potential,” Singh said in her speech. With the spread of technology, she declared, the world needs to keep up with new advancements and make them available everywhere, no matter the circumstances. She explained how when she travels to places such as Kenya, India and South Africa, she sees that children there want to be what they see is needed in the community, such as doctors or counselors. She ended her speech by emphasizing the importance of youth in the world, saying that “if we want to solve any problem from conflict to disease to climate change we have to start with young people and acknowledge the huge impact they have in their communities, in their countries and in the world.”

Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, ended the meeting by advising the young people of the world not to “trust anyone over 30 to decide” what they do with their education and lives, reminding it that it is their own choice what they want to become. “Don’t let us decide how much we spend on health and education.”

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UN Youth Meeting for a Better Tomorrow