“We have to invest in youth and work with them, work for them.”
Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
12 August was first designated International Youth Day by the UN General Assembly in 1999, and serves as an annual celebration of the role of young women and men in development, and an opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges and problems facing the world’s youth. This year’s theme is ‘Youth Building Peace’, to celebrate young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and sustainable peace.
Today, International Youth Day was celebrated in Tehran by UNESCO, in cooperation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, other UN agencies, and the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, with an event in Sa’adabad Cultural and Historical Complex.
The celebration, attended by some 140 guests, featured three panel discussions with youth representatives, Government officials, NGOs and UN agencies on important topics, such as Health and Sports, Education and Sciences, and the Environment.
“Today half the world is under 25 years old. Our global population has never been so young. But unfortunately, more than 600 million youth around the world live in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. Young people carry the heaviest burdens of conflict and violence, yet they are also essential for any lasting solution leading to peace”, said Ms. Kuisch Laroche, Director of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office in her opening remarks. “UNESCO and all other UN agencies are working across the board to support young people – not just as beneficiaries but as leaders- playing vital roles at local, national and global levels.”
Among other prominent Iranian artists and film makers, singer Hafez Nazeri attended the event and talked about the importance of reaching inner peace in order to achieve physical, mental, spiritual and social health. He stressed the important role of music and arts in this context.
12-year-old Diba Saedi Daryani, highlighted the importance of environmental conservation and the active role that children and youth could play in that regard. “Please use the creative ideas of the youth to preserve the environment”, she urged Government officials.
Mr. Gary Lewis, UN Resident Coordinator in Iran, also talked about the pressing need to address environmental challenges, which –if not tackled- will pose significant risks to global peace and stability. He underscored the role of youth in combatting climate change and adopting sustainable ways of production and consumption.
At the end of the event, the participants released 100 white balloons in the air, symbolizing their hopes and aspirations for a peaceful future. To cap the celebration of this year’s International Youth Day, guests were able to taste food and refreshments prepared by the municipality of Rasht, a UNESCO Creative City for its gastronomy.
For more information about International Youth Day and celebrations around the world, please see: https://www.un.org/development/desa/youth/international-youth-day-2017.html