Special Adviser Ronan Farrow of the Secretary of State for Global Youth Issues today said the United States is committed to empower youth as positive and civic actors.
At a high level meeting on Youth, Mr. Farrow said young people are at the very core of changing world events. He said more than 60 percent of the world’s population is under the age of 30.
“And that demographic, increasingly empowered by the new technologies that we’ve discussed in this session, is increasingly a potential driver of great economic and social reform.” -Mr. Farrow
He pointed out that the world should acknowledge that demographic can be one of the great threats to national, international, stability and security. He noted that 86 percent of all nations with new outbreaks of civil conflict have significant majorities under the age of 30.
“President Obama said in his seminal Cairo speech in 2009: “To the young people of the world, of every faith, and every country – you, more than anyone, have the power to remake this world.” But who gives them the tools to remake that world -will profoundly affect security around the world and the prosperity of all of our nations.” -Mr. Farrow
Mr. Farrow highlighted that youth engagement has already been a priority at many United States embassies. He said the United States has developed effective approaches to interacting with young people, from exchange programs, to democracy training, to development, health and livelihood programs.
“We have sought to give young people a voice on the global stage. Last December, Ambassador Susan Rice chaired a UN Security Council session where youth set the agenda themselves: the first time that young people had an opportunity to influence the course of the most influential body on international peace and security.” -Mr. Farrow
Mr. Farrow stated that last year, Secretary Clinton launched an exhaustive review of America’s international youth policy and programming. He said the review was targeted at changing our capacity to empower the next generation of leaders, and it resulted in a pledge.
“We pledge to empower young people as positive economic and civic actors through our programs; to work hand in hand with countries like those in this room today to create enabling environments for youth in all of our borders; And to explore new ways to talk to – and perhaps more importantly, to listen to – young people.” -Mr. Farrow
To oversee this historic effort, Mr. Farrow said the United States is launching a new State Department Office of Global Youth Issues.
He stressed that the United States is focusing on economic empowerment, through programs around the world that educate, create employment opportunities, and foster entrepreneurship for young people. He noted that programs like Youth:Work has trained and employed thousands of young people in Latin America.
“We are launching initiatives that encourage civic participation, create local leadership opportunities, and develop linkages between young people and their governments.” -Mr. Farrow
He underscored that the United States is pushing the envelope to involve young people in the execution of the programs, with successes like the Yes Youth Can Initiative in Kenya, which features an innovative youth-led and managed social innovation fund.
“The young people of our nations are, as we speak, transforming our security and prosperity. They are not just the future as several pointed out: they are now. And we can work with them to create a better now.” -Mr. Farrow