On Friday 9 August 2019, UNESCO observed International Youth Day (IYD) in New Delhi on the theme ‘Transforming Education’. The event served as a platform to showcase and advocate a series of transformational youth engagement initiatives, many of which are co-managed by UNESCO and its partners. The celebration of IYD was attended by close to 200 people, including youth, the media, and youth-focused civil society organizations, development agencies, and educational institutions.
In his inaugural address, Mr Eric Falt, Director, UNESCO New Delhi drew attention to the need for further empowering and mobilizing youth. He noted that in India for instance, ‘it is expected that youth will account for nearly 35% of the country’s population by 2020’, and hence it is important to perceive and nurture young people as ‘equal partners and actors for peace and development’. Mr Falt observed that UNESCO’s observance of IYD in India was an opportunity to showcase how ‘young people, youth organizations and others are revolutionizing educational practices in order to build a better world’.
The event included: presentations by the Ideosync UNESCO Information Fellows (who are part of a media fellowship programme for young Indians looking to specialize in communication for social change); a presentation of UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Sector’s youth engagement programmes; an overview of the pan-India online essay contest for children and youth launched by UNESCO and Takhte in 2019; a presentation related to heritage education for youth by the civil society organization Itihaas, and finally an overview from PRIA about its ‘Youth and Democracy’ campaign and other youth initiatives.