Sunday, January 5, 2014

"This is our year!"


If you're anything like me, you have probably promised yourself a time or two in this 2k14 that this is your year.  Well, I hope it is, but today I want to flash back to 1985 when millions of youth around the world could truly say "This is our year!"

Check out this excerpt from the United Nations 1985 General Assembly:

"Recognizing the profound importance of the direct participation of youth in
shaping the future of mankind and the valuable contribution that youth can
make in the implementation of the new international economic order based on
equity and justice,"
 Considering it necessary to disseminate among youth the ideals of peace,
respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, human solidarity and
dedication to the objectives of progress and development"
It was for this reason that the United Nations named 1985 International Youth Year.  During this year
all States, all United Nations bodies, specialized agencies, regional commissions and the international intergovernmental NGOs concerned, and youth organizations came together in recognition that we must implement an effective plan for the youth role in democracy and justice.  The full title of the year was "International Youth Year: Participation, Development, Peace."

Though the year did not mark the very beginning of a global recognition that youth involvement in
social justice and United Nations Engagement was important, it set out of define and measure youth engagement.  A decade after IYY (International Youth Year) the United Nations developed the World Program of Action for Youth.  These conventions brought together hundreds of youth that would create an action plan with goals and indicators for youth specific issues and youth obstacles of engagement. Here are the goals for The World Programme for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond.

It's cool to know an entire year was dedicated to youth participation in human rights work.  It is a reminder that there is a global understanding that we as young, emerging adults have a right to help make decisions that affect our daily lives and a responsibility to the solutions of local, national and global issues.

IYY and its youth forum descendents serve as the foundational base as I explore youth engagement with social justice today.  Almost two decades later, I beg this question: Did IYY keep its New Years Resolution?

Additional Source: World Youth Forum Reflects Growing Youth Power


  1. I really like this post! Especially the excerpt :) I didn't realize 1985 was the designated IYY. We learn something new each day!

  2. Happy new year to you as well. I also didn't know 1985 was designated to youth neither. Good question on where we stand on IYY commitments. I wonder if UNICEF and/or UNDP would have answers.