August 12, 2015 marks the fifteenth commemoration of the United Nations International Youth Day. The annual celebration draws together young people from around the world to work as agents of change.
Each year, the U.N. highlights a particular issue that affects the world’s young people. This year’s recently announced theme, “Youth Civic Engagement,” will draw international attention to the importance of youth involvement in political, economic and social affairs. The U.N. asserts that youth participation in public life is necessary to achieve global sustainable development.
This August 12, young people around the world will join the U.N.’s movement to get involved in civic activities. Here is how you can be a part of the International Youth Day 2015 celebrations:
Use Social media
The U.N.’s Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development wants to hear from you! Use social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to spread the word about the importance of civic engagement. Use the hashtag #YouthDay to connect with young people across the globe.
While youth advocacy is always an important part of International Youth Day celebrations, this year’s theme emphasizes youth involvement in public life more strongly than ever. Civic engagement means taking action, so choose a cause that means something to you and get started!
You can raise awareness by creating info sheets or flyers and placing them at local schools, libraries and community centers. You can also contact local media outlets and ask them to run a feature on your issue. The more publicity your issue gets, the better.
Call or email your congressional leaders and ask them to support your cause. Gather a group of friends to lobby your local officials on or around August 12.
With all the work you put into your specific cause, do not forget to call attention to the limited opportunities for youth engagement in many areas of society. Talk with leaders in your school, faith community and local organizations, and ask them to strengthen programs that promote involving youth in civic activities.
Plan an event
Organizing a community event to promote International Youth Day is a great way to raise awareness and funds for a cause of your choice. You can host a concert and invite local musicians to play, or plan a festival or block party and invite a distinguished individual to speak. You can even organize an exhibit featuring art from young people in your community.
Share your engagement
If you decide to plan an event for International Youth Day 2015, do not forget to document it and share photos with [email protected] If you share your event with [email protected], the organization will post the information to its global map of International Youth Day activities. Your events could inspire others to advocate for youth civic engagement.
The most creative photo submissions will be displayed at the U.N. Headquarters, shared online via official U.N. social media and used in the World Youth Report 2015. Be sure to include this copyright release form so the U.N. can share your photo. The deadline for submissions is July 23.
– Caitlin Harrison