The theme for International Youth Day 2018 is Safe Spaces for Youth.
Just two months ago the United Nations organised a major Youth Dialogue event at UN Headquarters in New York. The President of the General Assembly said at the opening “United Nations needs to spend more time talking directly to young people across the world, beyond simply talking about their concerns”.
In January, the ECOSOC Youth Forum, which has been held annually since 2012, took place in New York under the title “The role of youth in building sustainable and resilient urban and rural communities”.
The important role today’s youth can and must play in achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) is obvious and being recognised. As Soroptimists, we must involve girls and young women, but also boys and young men in working towards the SDGs that our organisation is most focussed on with SDG 5 Gender Equality in top, but other related goals that are elementary to achieving SDG 5 as well: SDG 4 Quality Education for all and SDG 6 Safe water for all for all purposes among them.
One example of Soroptimist International at work with youth is the “Youth croisière” recently held in the Netherlands. 12 young men and women, from 10 different countries (lead image) and ranging in age from 16 to 19 years spent a week together on the invitation of Dutch Soroptimists, staying in Soroptimists’ homes and enjoying programmes organised by 4 Soroptimist clubs in 4 different parts of the country. Sports, culture, politics, technical innovation and fun were all a part of the programme, but of course, discussing Soroptimist values was too!
International Youth Day (IYD) is an awareness day designated by the United Nations. The purpose of the day is to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding youth. The first IYD was observed on 12 August 2000. The theme for International Youth Day 2018 is Safe Spaces for Youth. This theme is of course very closely related to our Soroptimist mission of eliminating all forms of violence against girls, including FGM, child prostitution and other forms of child labour, child marriage.