International Youth Day Event


The 2015 International Youth Day theme is Youth Civic Engagement. Youth Civic Engagement, a main goal of the United Nations System-Wide Action Plan on Youth, seeks to promote young people’s effective inclusive civic engagement at all levels. There has been recent increasing attention and policy and programming focus on youth civic engagement by governments, UN entities, regional and multilateral organizations, CSOs, youth and researchers.

The world is changing with unprecedented speed. Recent political and social developments are triggering change in the social fabric of communities and countries. Young people are a force for change, asserting themselves as agents and partners, with powerful voices on the public scene. Youth movements and student groups are challenging traditional power structures and advocating for a new social contract between the State and society. Youth have contributed fresh ideas and been proactive in proposing solutions to development challenges. From a continuing youth unemployment crisis, youth-led protests and demonstrations taking place in the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere, to post-2015 consultations, young people have been progressively vocal and demonstrative of their demand and need for change. Youth are consistently demanding a greater say in governance structures, employment and economic life, and societies more generally. At the same time, with staggering youth unemployment figures, young people are being faced with the reality of leading a life with few job opportunities, increased vulnerability to poverty, and an education that does not adequately equip them for the ever changing demands of today’s labour market.

As newer technologies increasingly infiltrate our lives, young people are turning to alternative forms of participation to have their views and voices heard and to bring about change in their societies. Access to information and communication technologies, in particular social media, are providing young people with new and more effective means to express their aspirations and concerns more freely, to mobilize in large numbers, and to collaborate with other young people from around the world to debate and propose solutions.


This event will showcase inspiring ways in which young people engage in civic, political and social spheres and will explore how the issue of youth civic engagement is an enabler for an enhanced and inclusive participation of young women and men in decision-making and public life. The event will bring together young people, youth organizations, Member State representatives, civil society, media and United Nations entities to discuss the issue of youth civic engagement in particular looking at new and emerging issues and approaches to social and political engagement in different parts of the world.

The event will highlight both traditional and emerging forms of civic engagement. The 2015 World Youth Report, will focus on the issue of youth economic, political and social participation, responding to the increased concern and policy focus placed on the issue in recent years. The Report will aim to provide fresh impetus and innovative thinking on the topic, looking at whether existing policy approaches are conducive to more efficient and informed participation of young people in political, social and economic life as well as new and alternate forms of participation that young people are opting for.  The Report will examine whether existent youth policies serve to address the current situation, challenges and opportunities of youth in today’s world. Moreover, it will closely examine whether traditional methods of ensuring youth engagement and participation in the development and implementation of youth policies itself need to be reassessed so as to better embrace contemporary manifestations of youth civic engagement and participation, including via ICTs.

In providing such an analysis, a strong link to youth engagement in the shaping and future implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals at both the national and global levels will be highlighted.


In 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the General Assembly declared 12 August be declared International Youth Day. International Youth Day gives an opportunity to celebrate young peoples’ views and initiatives. Celebrations at the United Nations Headquarters and around the world will recognize the importance of youth participation in political, economic and social life.



Opening Session with UN SG

Message from SG Envoy on Youth

Video messages

10:30 am -11:40am

Panel One: Participation of Young People in Local and National Political Processes-----

Chair: Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic

  • Ms. Nur Laiq, Contributing author to World Youth Report 2015
  • Mr. Jakapop Adam, UNDP-supported Thai Youth Anti-Corruption Network
  • Mr. Adrian Alfred Leader of the Vote Like a Boss Campaign (Caribbean)
  • Representative of Black Lives Matter, TBD
  • Gloria Alcocer, Director Organizacion Ciudadana in Mexico


Panel Two: The Power of Youth as Global Citizens

Chair: Permanent Representative of Portugal

  • Video message from Ms. Emel Mathlouthi, youth activist and artist, Tunisia
  • Mr. Mark Brennan – UNESCO University Co-chairs youth civic engagement
  • Ms. Jean Manney, Action 2015 – Restless Development (Youth focal point for Action 2015)
  • Representative of MGCY
  • Save the Children – Citizen Hearings (Zambia)

12:50pm – 1pm


For more information click here

1. The #YouthDay campaign

We would like to share all the material for social media, including the social media advisory and  images in English, French and Spanish for the #YouthDay campaign for International Youth Day 2015 on Youth Civic Engagement. Feel free to use and share the material which you can download from the following link:

The #YouthDay campaign opens up a space for young people to share their stories and ideas on civic engagement activities. Young people can share their message by submitting a photograph that relates to the theme to [email protected], by tweeting ideas and opinions on the theme using #YouthDay, or by organizing an International Youth Day Event. They can get some ideas from the IYD2015 toolkit:, and if an event is organized, plans should be communicated to [email protected] to have the activities mapped on the IYD World Map of Events: More information at:

2. International Youth Day Event- 12 August UNHQ

Registration is open for the International Youth Day event on 12 August in UN Headquarters. The event will take place in the ECOSOC chamber from 10am to 1pm and will consist of two inter-active panels showcasing inspiring ways in which young people engage in civic, political and social spheres and will explore how the issue of youth civic engagement is an enabler for an enhanced and inclusive participation of young women and men in decision-making and public life.  Registration is open until 4 August here: