International Youth Day 2023: Green skills for a successful transition towards a greener world

Written by Dr. Florence Akano

International Youth Day 2023 is marked around the world with a focus on the reawakening of youth empowerment and the maintenance of a green, healthy society.

Every 12th of August, we celebrate International Youth Day, a worldwide event that’s all about young people and their potential. This special day was started by the United Nations in 1999 to honour young people’s abilities and was inspired by a meeting in 1998 where leaders talked about youth issues.

This year, in 2023, the theme for International Youth Day is ‘’ Green Skills for Youth: Toward a Sustainable World. It’s a big deal because it focuses on young people as powerful forces for making things better. It’s not just about saying young people are important; it’s about creating an environment where they can grow and make a difference.

International Youth Day isn’t just a date on the calendar. It’s a symbol of understanding and togetherness, linked to the United Nations. Its goal is to tackle the important problems that affect young people all around the world.

The International Youth Day 2023 Celebration, which took place on Friday, August 11th, between 6:30 pm and 8:00 pm EST in Conference Room 4, had closed its in-person registration. However, the proceedings could be viewed live on UN WebTV and YouTube. This year’s event, themed “Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World,” underscored the pivotal role of young individuals in fostering engagement and leadership in various decision-making spheres, particularly in the pursuit of an environmentally sustainable and climate-conscious world. The emphasis on green skills underscored the potential of youth in steering a sustainable trajectory. The event was jointly organized with the collaboration of the Permanent Mission of Malta, the Department of Global Communications, and AFS Intercultural Programs.

The event showcased notable speakers, including H.E. Mr. Csaba Kőrösi, President of the 77th Session of the General Assembly at the United Nations; H.E. Ms. Vanessa Frazier, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Malta to the UN (via video message); Maher Nasser, Director of Outreach in the United Nations Department of Global Communications; Daniel Obst, President and CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs; Wendy Kopp, CEO & Co-founder of Teach For All; Yumna Khan, Director of Youth Assembly and Strategic Youth Initiatives; and Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General for the Social and Human Sciences at UNESCO (via video message). Furthermore, a panel of accomplished youth leaders was featured, including Hana Sahatqija, Youth Engagement and Entrepreneurship Lead at UNICEF; Amira Nasim, Migration Policy Officer at the International Organization for Migration (IOM); Amanda Nesheiwat, Deputy Director of Sustainability and Community Outreach for Hudson County Improvement Authority in New Jersey; Noel Ifeanyi Alumona, Founder & CEO of Boys Champions; and Ali Mustafa, AFS Intercultural Programs Consultant and UN Relations Moderator. The event aimed to serve as a platform to acknowledge and empower young voices in the pursuit of a sustainable future.

This celebration is really important because it’s not just about symbols. It’s about showing respect for young people who are shaping the future. At the same time, it’s a way of highlighting the challenges they face and asking everyone to work together to help them.

Young people are doing amazing things in areas like helping communities, taking care of the environment, and standing up for what’s right. International Youth Day tells their stories and shows the difficulties they go through, like not having access to education, facing hunger, and dealing with poverty.

Today’s young people are seen as leaders who can make changes. They’re using technology, creativity, and passion to tackle big problems like climate change and gender equality. They’re finding smart solutions to tough problems and leading the way towards progress.

In 2023, International Youth Day is a chance to celebrate the energy and dreams of young people all over the world. It’s also a reminder of how important they are in creating a fair, sustainable, and equal world. As we celebrate, let’s come together to support young people by giving them the resources and opportunities they need. By working together and supporting them, we can help them make the world a better place.

As the world focuses more on taking care of the environment, it’s urgent that we transition to a greener and more climate-friendly way of living. This change is important for the global climate and is also connected to goals for sustainable development. In this new mindset about the environment, learning green skills is key to success.

Green skills include the knowledge and abilities needed to move toward a sustainable society. This means having the technical know-how to use green technologies at work and in daily life. These skills also involve making choices that are good for the environment. They’re really important, especially for younger generations who have time to make a difference.

International Youth Day is like music that’s getting louder. It’s a call to action for young people all around the world to step up as leaders of change and champions of sustainability. With green skills in their toolboxes, they’re making a positive impact that will last for years to come.

About the author

Dr. Florence Akano

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