The 2015 International Youth Day took a social media spin this year with the youth and officials utilizing digital media to endorse this year’s theme of civic engagement.
The United Nations hosted day-long interactive panels featuring young people, youth organizations, member state representatives, civil society, media and United Nations entities to discuss the theme, while utilizing social media for its “International Youth Day Digital Surge”.
The digital surge was featured on Twitter with young people using the hashtag #youthday to share their stories, feature reports on youth civic and public participation and ways for others to get involved.
AFRICAN UNION COMMEMORATIONS
Meanwhile, the African Union on its second day of youth day commemorations hosted a Twitter chat with African Union Commission chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who answered tweeted questions over a livestream.
The Twitter chat touched on various issues from engagement, jobs, education and the youth’s role in the future of Africa.
Dlamini-Zuma candidly spoke of her civic engagement during her time at university in South Africa as a youth, urging young people to get involved in whatever capacity they could.
“As part of our civic work when we were at University, among other things, during holidays we used to go out to communities for instance that didn’t have water and do boreholes,” said Dlamini-Zuma.
She added that during her days as a medical student, they would enter communities and conduct literacy training for members in the communities.
YOUTH IN ZIMBABWE
In Zimbabwe, youth organizations also held interactive panels with young people discussing their role in civic engagement. Organizations like the Zimbabwe Youth Forum and Platform for Youth Development were among those that participated on engagement efforts.
Zimbabwe United Nations Association youth president, Mcleo Mapfumo, said days such as these remind young people about the role they have and should take in the future of their communities, their countries and Africa.
Mapfumo said in looking at the UN sustainable development goals and the AU 2063 agenda, there is much mention on the youth of Africa and the importance this demographic will play in moving Africa forward.
In his address marking the day, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that young people are best at tackling the issues at stake in today's rapidly changing world.
He noted encouraged people to speak out and urged leaders to listen.