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International Youth Day 2014

Today is International Youth Day, Let’s Celebrate!

Over half the world’s population is under the age of 30. We should celebrate by taking a moment to recognize and celebrate the promise and power of young people to change their communities, their counties, and the world. I consider today’s youth easily informed, quickly connected, and globally interested. With knowledge of social media techniques, the youth are very much more capable to find ideas and solutions, on a global scale.

What are the biggest issues facing young people?
Unmeployment, education and conflict. Youth that only know hunger, conflict, unemployment and a lack of education system face many hardships in this world. In my personal experience, over years of higher education, research and travels, I have seen first hand poverty stricken youth in corrupt countries and communities with little, high and no chance of achieving their dreams and goals. For example, I spent little time in Guatemala in 2006, volunteering and wondering about the Q’echi society. These are a resilient people who are kind and good to the children. However, outside the village and into the big cities, I saw a different tale of the youth fending for themselves. The difference you ask, the Q’echi youth had people who believed in them whereas, the youth in the bigger cities had no one, their only companion being hunger and strife. These youth know nothing of the United Nations nor of the Mellinium Development Goals. The youth need a literal helping hand.

Here are my thoughts:

1. It’s important for policy makers to engage young people in shaping laws and policies

2. Raise awareness about the difficulties facing poverty stricken youth and help support them, so that they can achieve their aspirations

3. Openly discuss innovation strategies and employment opportunities driven by today’s youth

4. I believe you can make a difference by supporting the youth in your own community and those abroad

5. Join the commitment to end the stigma of mental health illness and show support for young women and men combating mental illness

I send much love to all my friends and colleagues who have dedicated their lives to educating and empowering others

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