Youth and the Future of International Relations
By Kathlyn Roosevelt
Out of every five people in the world, there is one person between 15 and 24 years old; 85% of those are living in developingcountries and, among them are 600 million youth in areas of conflict, highlighting the importance of international relations and the need to include these young people in the local plans of the 170 countries benefiting from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). It is this age group that will be forming the shape and identity of the international community in the future.
Though we tend not to present a pessimistic picture of the future of the world to the youth, the ILO reports presenta shocking reality; most of them indicate that 28.3% of youth in the Middle East and 23.7% of young people in North Africa are unable to find job opportunities. In other regions, such as East and South Asia, the number of unemployed youth is even higher. In the next ten years, the world must create about 600 million productive jobs and there is a glimmer of hope given a number of successful experiences based on cooperation and partnership between states and UN organizations that have been able to find solutions to problems such as youth unemployment.
One of the most commendable experiences in this area is that of the Youth Innovation Program (Youth-IN), known as the Caribbean Network for Youth Development: a project focusedon entrepreneurship in the Caribbean, which has educated more than 1,700 young people on how to conduct and manage diverse businesses and pioneer businesses through on-the-job training in laboratories and electronic seminars, in collaboration with regional and national partners who support the initiative.
Similar initiatives have been set in place in Nicaragua, where a large proportion of young people have been successfully integrated into the labor market, principally by identifying specialized priorities and strategies in the education sector, as has happened in a number of countries in South Latin America and the Caribbean.
Spain stands out as a powerful example of excellence and success. It has been able to introduce important programs to find and create new youth leaders in an intensive program which was started in 2009 and continues today. Many of its graduates are now leading the scene in all sectors.
Countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Paraguay have also provided similar experiences that have been successful in empowering around 661 leaders at various levels in those countries.
In the Middle East, the Saudi experience emergesas a model for youth empowermentled by the foundation of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia (Mohammed bin Salman Foundation – Misk), one of the initiatives launched by the young prince, was to build a new generation of young people from his country who would be capable of achieving the goals and plans of the future state of 2020, and 2030, in all aspects of society. The focus of this initiative lies on four main factors: technology, culture, media, and education.
“ We enable the community to learn, develop and advance in business, literary and cultural fields, social and technological sciences, by creating incubators to develop, create and attract high-level institutions and provide an attractive regulatory environment, ” the Misk Foundations stateswhile defining its goals on its website.
Like the programs and initiatives mentioned in Spain, Mexico, Nicaragua, and others, the Saudi Initiative relies in large part on cooperation with UN organizations such as UNESCO, where it has launcheda joint program entitled “Misk-UNESCO Collaborative Training”
The program receives”Saudi students between the ages of 20 and 30 years, undergraduate degree in education, culture, natural sciences, humanities, social, communications, or any other field related to the management of organizations and international relations.” The program consists of a full year at one of UNESCO’s headquarters in France, Italy, China, Egypt and Jordan, representing a unique opportunity for Saudi youth to learn about the organization’s program, and allows them to playa role in spreading the culture of international peace and security by qualifying them for a career working within UNESCO, Of the ten tracks that students may take in the program, the most notable are: external relations and public information, scientific policies and partnerships, the development and implementation of the strategy of communication, advocacy and resource mobilization
The experiences and programs implemented in these very different countries around the world highlight the fact that young people need more international relations and partnerships capable of creating a secure future for them in order to participate in shaping and forming the future of the world, in the face of threats to terrorist organizations and groups that have become a major threat to the security and stability of all, and even a major threat to any attempts by the international community in the construction, development and stability, and the right of peoples to live in safety and security world.
Kathlyn Roosevelt is a policy analyst based in Washington DC. She is specialized in collecting and examining data and academic research in order to raise awareness about important social, political, and economic issues.