International Youth Day

International Youth Day has been observed annually on 12 August since its designation by the United Nations in 1999. On this day, governments, nonprofits, civic organizations, and individuals draw attention to youth issues worldwide. Concerts, workshops, cultural events, and meetings involving national and local government officials and youth organizations will take place around the world.

This year, the theme for International Youth Day is “Transforming education,” highlighting efforts to make education more relevant, equitable, and inclusive for all youth, and exploring how such efforts by governments, young people, and youth-led and youth-focused organizations are transforming education and contributing to the achievement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seeks to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” Transformation of education is important to the SDGs even beyond Goal 4. A “development multiplier,” education plays a pivotal role in accelerating progress across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, critical to achieving poverty eradication, good health, gender equality, decent work and growth, reduced inequalities, action on climate, and building peaceful societies.

On this International Youth Day, we recognize and celebrate the role of youth in bringing about more relevant, equitable, and inclusive education. “Youth-led organizations are transforming education by partnering with governments, educational institutions, and other stakeholders, lobbying and advocating education policies and developing complementary training programs. Youth-led organizations are addressing barriers for youth on the basis of economic status, ethnic group, gender, and other characteristics; updating education plans and school curricula to include lessons about peace, justice and the environment and climate change, among many other areas. Youth engagement is essential to the transformation of education into a means for inclusive youth development and sustainable development more broadly.”

Visit the UN International Youth Day web page here.