This originally appeared on Dipnote.
Today, and every August, the world celebrates International Youth Day.
Young people are key drivers to solving some of the world’s most pressing strategic challenges, from rebuilding the global economy to peace building and creating sustainable democracies, and will play a prominent role in shaping the 21st century world. Around the world, we’ve seen young people use their voice to demand opportunity and respect, utilizing technology to connect to one another in ways that no generation has ever been able to before.
Throughout my travels, I’ve heard from young people what is important to them–opportunities for effective political engagement, access to education, the hope for meaningful employment, and the desire for a safe and healthy future for themselves and their families.
All of these issues are equally, if not more, important to young people who have been uprooted from their homelands and forced, or have chosen, to migrate to a new country for economic or political reasons.
This year, the focus on International Youth Day is youth migration. Every year, millions of young people enter crowded cities, looking for economic opportunity or fleeing political persecution. Migration affects all countries and presents both opportunities and challenges. It can be an opportunity for a more stable life or a chance for prosperity but it can also hamper young people’s access to education or leave them marginalized and vulnerable. It is imperative that we pay attention to the special challenges of these young migrants.
Addressing the challenges that youth face around the world — in education, employment, healthcare — is smart foreign policy. But it is also an opportunity; young people represent a pool of human capital whose potential has yet to be tapped. I am inspired by the energy and passion of this generation and am committed to working in partnership with them to solve some of our biggest global challenges.
Follow and join the conversation on Twitter using #IYD2013.