‘Youth Civic Engagement’

Message from the Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, MP
In Recognition of International Youth Day
August 12, 2015


Today, Jamaica joins the global community in observing International Youth Day (IYD) under the theme ‘Youth Civic Engagement’. IYD was established by the United Nations in 2000 as a means of bringing attention to issues affecting young people around the world. Youth Civic Engagement seeks to encourage and promote the ways in which youth participate in the life of a community, in order to improve conditions for others or to help shape the community’s future. Jamaica supports this whole heartedly. The truth is, Jamaica like the rest of the world, is experiencing its largest generation of youth, it is therefore important to harness their talents and potential into meaningful engagement and participation, as their contributions are essential to achieving sustainable human development.

The Government of Jamaica is mindful that more effort is needed to raise awareness about the importance of youth civic engagement and its benefits to the individual and to society, as opportunities for youth to engage politically, economically and socially are still lacking in some areas.

The theme is therefore very timely and relevant and focuses on a solution to many of our social ills by promoting an opportunity for young people to engage and give back to their country, local communities, service clubs, churches, schools and other organizations in a meaningful way to support development and peace.

In addressing the issues raised by the international theme and applying it to the Jamaican context, with the assistance of the United Nations Population Fund, the Ministry of Youth and Culture (MYC) is hostinga Youth Forum entitled “Real Talk.”  This forum aims to facilitate constructive dialogue between policy makers, leaders in civil society, youth in politics and the general youth population; and increasing overall youth awareness about civic engagement and responsibility.

The Ministry of Youth and Culture will engage youth across Jamaica in discussions that seek to increase awareness and interest in good governance and democracy; increase knowledge of electoral processes and improve in Jamaica’s governance framework in order to increase awareness of the importance of youth exercising their demographic rights.

Successful youth engagement strategies require that youth have genuine and meaningful opportunities to work with each other and with stakeholders to impact issues of importance. “Real Talk” will afford youth participants to speak with political representatives about the avenues available for them to become more actively engaged in decision making processes.

The panel discussion will also explore a number of other topic, including: Youth civic engagement and civic responsibility, Democracy and good governance, The relationship between effective democracy and development, The electoral processes (Local and National), The importance of exercising the democratic rights as youths and The IMF and its implications on the economy.

On this International Youth Day, the Government renews its commitment to support our young people in all aspects of their development. As a nation, let us use the opportunity to resolve to increasing investments in our youth even as we encourage our young people to devote their energies and creative ideas into shaping a better future for themselves and their country.


Honourable Lisa Hanna, MP

Minister of Youth and Culture

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