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Building peace in the minds of men and women

International Youth Day

11 August

On 17 December 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.

The Assembly recommended that public information activities be organized to support the Day as a way to promote better awareness of the World Programme of Action for Youth, adopted by the General Assembly in 1996 (resolution 50/81).

Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security represents an unprecedented acknowledgement of the urgent need to engage young peacebuilders in promoting peace and countering extremism, and clearly positions youth as important partners in the global efforts.

The UNESCO Youth Programme emphasizes in its work that youth are not just beneficiaries, but they are essential leaders and partners in finding solutions to the issues faced by young people in the world today. They must be fully engaged in social development themselves and supported in this work by their societies. In line with its Operational Strategy on Youth 2014-2021, the UNESCO Youth Programme works to create an enabling environment in which this goal can be achieved, by bringing youth voices to the fore and encouraging young people to take action.

2020 Theme: Youth Engagement for Global Action

The theme of International Youth Day 2020, “Youth Engagement for Global Action” seeks to highlight the ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels is enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes, as well as draw lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.



Sharing is caring… and there is no better time to share your own inspiration, ideas, and stories than now!

This storytelling initiative is part of UNESCO’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is meant to put the spotlight on young people – how they feel, how they act, how they thrive during these challenging times.

Over the past weeks, maybe months, young people have been taking action and developing many creative ideas to face these challenging times, whether by helping their community, finding innovative learning ways, keeping a positive spirit, taking care of their relatives and loved ones, and much much more.


“Giving young people from all walks of life the opportunity to truly be active participants in the social and political life of their societies, as well as in the multilateral project, means ensuring that we are building a world that is truly for them."

— Audrey Azoulay, Director General, Message on the occasion of the International Youth Day

Download the complete message in PDF format
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