INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF YOUTH: OUR YEAR - OUR VOICE - Dialogue and Mutual Understanding - AUGUST 2010 - 2011
"Giving it Back, Passing it On: Corporate Engagement and Youth Philanthropy as Pathways to Development"
ECOSOC, NLB, United Nations, NYC. Dated: July 27, 2011
"Failing to invest in our youth is a false economy."
"There is always the power of the individual who can make change."
-Ban Ki-MOON, Secretary General of the United Nations
Background on the International Year of Youth
In December 2009, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 64/134 proclaiming the International Year of Youth from 12 August 2010 to 11 August 2011. Under the theme International Year of Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding, the Year aims to reach across generations, cultures, religions and civilizations and promote the ideals of peace, respect for human rights and solidarity.
Youth organizations, Governments, and civil society are encouraged to celebrate the Year by holding activities to showcase youth contributions to development, promote mutual understanding, and highlight the benefits and significance of youth participation in all aspects of society. The Year aims to generate much needed attention for youth development and to provide an impetus among youth organizations to form partnerships and foster dedication to achieve the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.
The UN Programme on Youth/UNDESA, in cooperation with NGO’s Restless Development and Search for Common Ground and with the support of the UN Office for Partnership, hosted a day-long event to address the relationships between young people and the private sector, and examined how young people engage philanthropically in public and private development strategies.
In the morning session of the event, Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon has joined to the Conference, and passed on his "Youth Year" message to the very energetic and enthusiastic participants of the event at the ECOSOC Chamber of the United Nations' North Lawn Building in New York City on Wednesday, July 27, 2011.
In this particular session, the panelists 'examined how young people engage philanthropically in public and private development strategies.' Alone with Secretary-General; Sean K"oh, Founder and CEO, Koherent Inc.; Reeta Roy, President and CEO of MasterCard Foundation; John Kluge, philanthropist and entrepreneur; Monique Coleman, UN Youth Champion were the panelists of the session.
Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has defined the importance of private sector's involvement in the philanthropic efforts in the following lines: "Private sector companies are playing an ever-larger role on the global stage. They are increasingly active in promoting grass-roots development. They are establishing foundations. They are pioneering new codes of corporate social responsibility."
And, Secretary General's specific message to the youth participants of the event and world-wide (web-casted) as follow: "Whenever I speak to audiences like this one - audiences filled with young people engaged in the issues of our times - I stress the power of the individual, the power of the individual to make a difference, to force change. Look at the case of Mohamed Bouazizi, a 27-year-old Tunisian, who was just a street vendor, but who set himself on fire and committed suicide just to express his personal frustration. Nobody expected that his death, one single death, one lonely young man, a street vendor, that his death would spark the Arab spring – democratization. There is always the power of the individual who can make change, who can make a great difference. All of you – each and every one of you – who are sitting here, can be the power of change." - For the full version of the Secretary-General's remarks at high-level meeting on youth side event: "Giving it back, passing it on": Corporate Engagement and Youth Philanthropy as Pathways to Development - Dated: 27 July 2011, New York.
Also, prior to this side event, below section is absracted from the Secretary-General's earlier message for the International Youth Day - Dated: August 12, 2011:
"Young people are gifted with open minds and a keen awareness of emerging trends, and are bringing their energy, ideas and courage to some of the most complex and important challenges facing the human family. They often understand better than older generations that we can transcend our religious and cultural differences in order to reach our shared goals. They are standing up for the rights of oppressed peoples, including those who suffer discrimination based on gender, race and sexual orientation. They are confronting sensitive issues in order to stop the spread of HIV. And they are often the leading proponents of sustainability and green life-styles.
The international community must continue to work together to expand the horizons of opportunity for these young women and men and answer their legitimate demands for dignity, development and decent work. Failing to invest in our youth is a false economy. Investments in young people will pay great dividends in a better future for all."( For the full message, please click here.)