Picture by: Action2015
International Youth Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate the powerful force that is Youth in the development of our world. The statistics show that youth represent the broadest representative demographic in population figures. Established firms that are mass consumer oriented direct their marketing to ensure that young people are attracted to their products and services. While market trends and analysis highlight young people as a notable consumer, the statistics with regards to economic participation in production and service rendering are quite discouraging.
Many of our nations, while afloat, are contracted with regards to economic opportunities. Other nations are failing to survive, and rely on limited means of trade with the world to remain afloat. Thus their industry is dependent on one sector with little to no room for the emergence of youth. Experience is often used as the gatekeeper for the entry of new blood into these entities, thus keeping a monopoly hold on the demographic that will get access to the fruits of the establishment.
These realities would very easily discourage many into the abyss of thought that there is no way out for the youth of today. For others, it is a ticket to rebellion and anarchy in the name of attaining a form of freedom without definition. However, there is a path to which our generation is called which requires the eyes and ears to be attentive to the wisdom of time. This can be found in the simple word, Vision.
Vision, in this context, refers to the perceived future/outcome of our efforts. While we have many plans of action, the question still remains, what kind of country, region and world do we intend on leaving for the next generation? Are we going to leave them with the same options we had to choose from among, or are we going to take the initiative to explore beyond the immediate possibilities and perceived limitations which we have been programmed to believe that they are immovable?
In my experience in the world of diplomacy and youth advocacy, I have seen how the youth voice has been given pacifiers to deter the masses from seeking to go beyond the boundaries set by tradition for the maintenance of perceived order and governability. It has become as good as a caged hamster in a cage running against the momentum of the wheel in the hope of overcoming the momentum. The unfortunate truth is that this momentum never turns in favour of the hamster. It only tires the poor animal until it falls off. Even so, passive acceptance of our generation’s fate being unchangeable and dooming youth diplomacy to conferences and retreats that end with the same language documents is going to leave us apathetic and derailed from the task of uplifting our people.
It is therefore with this, that I challenge the youth leaders of this network and across the spectrum to choose to think differently about the bureaucracy which we are inheriting. Let us understand its science and limitations. Let us engage the world and its mathematical equations. Let us critically assess the trends of our culture and put in the work needed to ensure that we can ensure a supply for the demand of human evolution as the population figures continue to grow. Let us bear in mind the fact that principle trade traditions that saw the pillaging of nations for the benefit of others by form of conquest and unscrupulous diplomacy has only yielded a cycle of events that keep repeating themselves in different forms. Let us be the generation that decides that this cycle stops with us.
When approaching sustainable development, let us envision our role as the generation that embraces the true spirit of globalization where national interest doesn’t trump humanity’s interest. Let us be the generation that seeks to embrace the principles of value added diplomacy, where our nations seek to trade and interact on the premise of adding value to the counterpart being engaged. This approach to diplomacy is a quintessential start to the ensuring of a world where sustainable trade relations can be established. It also ensures that the value of youth innovation and evolution of the culture is not seen as a threat, but rather as an addition to the plethora of the nation’s treasure to integrate into the commonwealth of humanity.
I leave you with the words of the father of my nation, the late great Nelson Mandela who said, “It always seems impossible until it is done.”
Happy International Youth Day