INTERNATIONAL Youth Day (IYD) is being observed on Monday, and country co-ordinator of the Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network (CYPAN) Terez Lord is urging young people to do good as they are the catalysts for change.
"This day is a recognition of the critical role youths play in shaping their lives, communities and societies. Young people play an integral role in achieving sustainable development. For any kind of transformational change to occur, whether in terms of education, social, political, young people are the catalysts," Lord said.
August 12 was first designated IYD by the UN General Assembly in 1999. According to the UN official website (www.un.org), it serves as an annual celebration of the role of young women and men as essential partners in change, and an opportunity to raise awareness of challenges and problems facing the world’s youth.
This year’s theme is Transforming Education.
Lord told Newsday that CYPAN has been engaged in several activities nationwide geared towards promoting peace, denouncing bullying and encouraging female empowerment. She is also the Caricom Youth Ambassador of TT and was among several young leaders from eight member countries who recently visited Kigali in Rwanda. This was part of a youth-led task force for planning meetings and orientations for next year’s Commonwealth Youth Forum.
It is one of the flagship programmes of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Lord said.
"The forum is a space where young people can build consensus on key priority issues that should be reflected in policies. The purpose is also to derive solutions and recommendations for the attention and action of the Commonwealth heads."
The forum will be held on the days leading up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, commonly referred to as CHOGM, which occurs bi-annually.
Last year it was held in London, and is scheduled for Rwanda next year.
"This forum is a commitment to youth development and of course sustainable development of the countries. It is an opportunity for inter-generational dialogue, the building of cross-cultural connections ad networks."
The forum comprises the Commonwealth Youth Council, Rwanda government officials and members of the National Youth Council of Rwanda as well as other organisations.