This past Monday, the United Nations held a general assembly kicking off a new initiative under UNICEF, called Generation Unlimited, or GenU. Under GenU, the organization is planning on taking on a youth strategy, aptly called Youth2030, aiming to ensure that all young people and youth are enrolled in school, training, or are employed by the year 2030. At the general assembly, the UN chief, António Guterres, highlighted five key points to the new program:
- Opening new routes to involve young people and amplify their voices.
- Strengthening the UN’s focus on their accessing education and health services.
- Placing their economic empowerment at the fore of development strategies, with a focus on training and jobs.
- Working to ensure their rights and civic and political engagement.
- Prioritizing support for young people in conflict and in humanitarian crises, including their participation in peace processes.
The initiative recognizes, unfortunately, lack of integration and consideration of youth in international decision-making and negotiations, and the importance of having the demographic integrated with such dealings. Young people make up almost a quarter of the world’s population, and they hold the future in their hands. As such, it is imperative for them to have the resources to be able to achieve their aspirations in order to collectively create a better world for tomorrow. The president of the Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, himself said, “When aspirations are met with opportunity, you get dynamic economic growth.” Kim reiterates that without basic needs and rights such as health and education, one cannot pursue their dreams that could help contribute to a brighter future.
To pursue one's’ calling though, the first step is to recognize yourself and accept yourself as a whole, in order to fully understand what you can contribute. UNICEF brought on several ambassadors for the assembly to speak on the new program, including Lilly Singh, also known as ||Superwoman|| on YouTube, as well as the Korean boy group BTS, who had actually been working with UNICEF for several years already. The remarks made by BTS were well-received and circulated online through several major news outlets, and even highlighted on their appearances this week on Jimmy Fallon and Good Morning America. In the speech, group leader, RM (Kim Namjoon), urged listeners to not try to fit into the mold that other people and society expect them to fill. Rather than turning away from mistakes one has done in the past, he acknowledges that the past, both good and bad, are what make up a person’s true self, and should be embraced. He asked others to find what excites them, what makes their heart beat, and speak for themselves.