International Youth Day
The theme of International Youth Day 12th August 2017 is Youth Building Peace.
Since the adoption of Security Council Resolution 2250 in 2015, there is growing recognition that as agents of change, young people are critical actors in conflict prevention and sustaining peace. International Youth Day 2017 is dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace.
The current generation of youth are the largest in history and young people often comprise the majority in countries marked by armed conflict or unrest, therefore considering the needs and aspirations of youth in matters of peace and security is a demographic imperative.
Another Security Council Resolution, Resolution 2282 (2016) recognizes that the scale and challenges of sustaining peace require partnerships between stakeholders, including youth organizations. It also reaffirms the important role youth can play in deterring and resolving conflicts and are key constituents in ensuring the success of both peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development committed to fostering peaceful and inclusive societies and affirmed that “sustainable development cannot be realized without peace and security”. Goal 16 aims to ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels. The World Programme of Action for Youth, which provides a policy framework and practical guidelines to improve the situation of young people, also encourages “promoting the active involvement of youth in maintaining peace and security”.
Young people’s inclusion in the peace and security agenda and in society more broadly is key to building and sustaining peace. The process of social inclusion for youth, including participation in decision-making as well as access to quality education, health care and basic services promotes their role as active contributors to society and affords young people with opportunities to reach their potential and achieve their goals. When youth are excluded from political, economic and social spheres and processes, it can be a risk factor for violence and violent forms of conflict. Therefore, identifying and addressing the social exclusion of young people is a precondition for sustaining peace.
Youth is the golden age in the life of a person. It is the time when one is at the peak of passion, courage, energy and mental agility. The significant roles of youth are recognized in Islam that Allah S.W.T urges the youth to make full use of their advantages. Abu Huraira [ra] reported that the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) had said, “Seven are (the persons) whom Allah would give protection with His Shade on the Day when there would be no shade but that of Him”. These are:
1. A just ruler 2. A youth who grew up with the worship of Allah 3. A person whose heart is attached to the mosques 4. Two persons who love and meet each other and depart from each other for the sake of Allah 5. A man whom a beautiful woman of high rank seduces (for illicit relation), but he (rejects this offer by saying),” I fear Allah” 6. A person who gives charity and conceals it (to such an extent) that the right-hand does not know what the left has given, and 7. A person who remembered Allah in privacy and his eyes shed tears. (Sahih Muslim).
The youth whose time is spent in worship of Allah is guaranteed the protection of Allah on the Day of Judgment. In the history of Islam, the youth plays a crucial factor in da’wa. As for when the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was first sent forth and the people believed in him, Abu Bakr was 38, and all of those who had accepted Islam were between 15 and 25, in addition to those who were children. It is also recorded that Anas bin Malik said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) came to Madinah with his Companions, and there was not a single man with white hair in his head except for Abu Bakr, who had dyed his beard with henna and saffron. (al-Bukhari).
This year’s International Youth Day celebrated with the theme of “Youth Building Peace” is to promote the culture and attitude of “peace” among the youth. It is through the understanding of peace among the young that we will, insha Allah, avoid any conflict and distress which may threaten social and global peace in the future.