The United Nations Development Program recognized youth as leaders who can make an immediate impact on global human rights. Below are excerpts from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s address to youth:
Youth activism and engagement can bring about important social changes… You don’t have to wait to be an adult to be an active member of your community. Your opinion matters and it should be heard. Here’s a list of ideas of how you can participate locally and globally:
- Know your rights:…all children and youth hold national and international rights. These rights are only of use to you if you are informed about them, so read up!
- Learn about local issues:Is a roadblock affecting your commute to school? Are the new taxes affecting your family’s livelihood? Whatever the case, learning the issue will help in creating solutions that will have an impact on you.
- Speak out: Speaking your mind online and/or offline helps you assert yourself and your interests. Also, you never know who might be listening. Think before posting. Social media has a long memory and things can never truly be deleted.
- Network: There are many inspiring youth like you around the world. Reach out to them. Learn about their efforts and initiatives, they might also work for you!
- Spread the word: If elections are taking place, spread the word! Talk to friends and family about registering to vote. If there are important issues that are going unaddressed, become the person who addresses them. You are part of a community, and have the power to educate and influence those around you.
- Join online campaigns: Is there an issue you are concerned about? Global campaigns are always happening. Find one that corresponds to your issue, join in, and implement the campaign locally.
- Host a youth summit: Learn and share your perspectives and views with peers as well as decision-makers. Schools and local organizations can be of great support to you in trying to create a forum for the exchange of ideas.
- Use your creativity: Photography, arts and crafts, dance, theatre, sports, street art. Almost anything can be turned into an activist project. What are you good at? Translate it into civic activism!
- Join/create a youth organization: Local youth organizations are great places to expand your knowledge and become an active member of your society. If your community doesn’t have an organization representing youth, create one. Be the trendsetter!
- Be an inspiration:Believe in yourself, and follow your passion. Passionate youth will change the world.