Today, Jamaica joins the rest of the world in celebrating International Youth Day.
It’s an opportunity to reflect on the work that has been done and is being done to improve the lives of our youth and the outstanding contributions that the youth themselves make to society. We also assess the challenges that our young people face and strengthen our resolve to do what is necessary to address their needs and concerns.
The Government of Jamaica is committed to giving the youth the support they need to be healthy, to be safe, to learn, to be responsible, to make a positive contribution to their communities and to enjoy the best quality of life.
Since the year 2000, the annual celebration of International Youth Day has focused on issues such as: sustainability; climate change; youth participation in development; tackling poverty together; decent and productive work for young people; and health and unemployment.
This year’s theme “Dialogue and Mutual Understanding” reflects dialogue among youth from different cultures, as well as among different generations.
This anniversary is particularly important as it is the official start of the International Year of Youth. The Year, which will coincide with the 25th anniversary of the first International Youth Year in 1985 on the theme Participation Development and Peace, will be launched at the United Nations in New York today.
The UN framework for the International Year of Youth focuses on three key areas: creating awareness (to increase commitment and investment in youth); mobilising and engaging (to increase youth participation and partnership); connecting and building bridges (to increase intercultural understanding among youth).
As the Minister with lead responsibility for this very import segment of the population, I am happy to announce Jamaica’s commitment to supporting International Youth Day, International Year of Youth and, most importantly, our commitment to supporting the youth of Jamaica.
We will be working with the United Nations Programme on Youth in celebrating the Year by organising activities that promote an increased understanding of the importance and benefits of youth participation in all aspects of society, as well as those that encourage youth to devote their energy, enthusiasm and creativity to development and the promotion of mutual understanding.
Our main activities will take place during Youth Month in November when we will salute some of our nation’s best and brightest.
International Year of Youth can generate much needed attention for youth participation and youth development, and can provide an impetus for partnerships among youth organisations across the world.
I call on all sectors of the Jamaican society to join us as we seek to promote the interests of our young people; and help them to be the best that they can be.

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