Thursday, August 12, 2010

UN launches International Year of Youth

Today marks the start of the United Nations International Year of Youth. Over the next 12 months the UN is asking the international community, "to harness the talents and energy of the world's young people to promote better understanding and dialogue between different generations, cultures and religions." Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon elaborated on the importance of such ideals and encouraged UN member states to invest in social and economic programs that will benefit young people around the world.

This comes at a time when the global youth unemployment rate is at its highest point in history. Although every age group has felt the effects of the global economic downturn, young people ages 15-24 have been impacted the most dramatically. They account for more than 22 percent of the increase in unemployment since early 2007, approximately three times the average unemployment level for adults over 25, according to the International Labor Organization.

In an effort to revive the global market that is plagued by limited job creation, the UN has awarded 51 youth organizations with grants for their efforts to empower young people. Those receiving UN funding proposed innovative ideas aimed at alleviating poverty, improving youth employment prospects, and increasing youth participation in democratic processes. The grant recipients were announced today, August 12 on what will be recognized annually by the UN as International Youth Day.

-Devynn Patterson