International Youth Day 2016

It may be cliché, but it’s nonetheless true—young people are the future. Our world is facing more and more complex emergencies and disasters whether they are caused by environment or conflict—and increasingly more—a combination of the two. In order to face these global issues head-on and better prevent further issues, supporting, focusing, and investing in our youth is key.

When given the proper information, resources, and mentorship, youth are incredibly influential. We at GCC see every day the positive action that students take in order to participate and be a present voice in global issues. Whether it be organizing a fundraiser to raise money for nutrition programs, hosting advocacy events about climate impact, or creating lesson plans to teach their peers about maternal health and child survival, our GCC students take action on global issues in their communities every year.

Young people often feel marginalized and ignored by older generations; they want to be included in politics, reform, global change. The internet has made our world increasingly smaller, more interconnected, and made global news GCC Summit NYC 2016more available. Students can learn the latest global news story by tapping an app icon on their phone. Students are also more active due to social media; where the older generations view millennials as vain and aloof, many millennials use social media as a platform to post news articles, share social justice campaigns, and participate in a larger social justice active youth community.

Youth continue to share, post, and campaign for their beliefs online yet studies show that youth struggle to find ways to take action. By supporting youth to not just project their call to action, but to also take that action, you are inviting them to the conversation; you are acknowledging their necessity, and right to have a say in their future.

The United Nations has taken the stance that they believe youth should be active participants in global change, particularly regarding the Sustainable Development Goals. On this day, the UN asks International Youth Day to focus on the theme: “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Production and Consumption.” Sustainable consumption means that the use of products and services that meet the basic needs of communities are also safeguarding the needs of future generations.

Yet there are so many barriers–especially in poor communities–to practice sustainable consumption. What are ways we can break these barriers? How can we provide more sustainable resources and practices to communities that do not have access to basic needs?

Do you have ideas that could solve these issues? Do you think you have what it takes to be a 2016 Global Citizen Youth Advocate? Apply here today!

Or would you like to participate in International Youth Day Events? Learn how to get more involved here!


Katie Talley is a summer intern at Concern U.S. Worldwide.