May 24, 2024

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Commonwealth Secretary-General launches landmark Year of Youth 2023

The Commonwealth Secretariat has officially launched the 2023 Year of Youth – a seminal 12 months devoted to the celebration and empowerment of the 1.5bn under-30s living in the Commonwealth.

Youth-related issues like climate change, access to education, skills, employment, and political, social and economic participation, will take centre-stage throughout 2023, with Commonwealth Heads of Government committing to prioritise collaborative action.

Commonwealth young people will feature in a variety of high-profile events aimed at spotlighting the issues facing their well-being and prosperity.

Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex, a long-time champion for young people, will act as the Quality Youth Leadership Ambassador throughout the 2023 Year of Youth. In this role, His Royal Highness will support the inclusion of young people and shine a light on the valuable contribution they have made to member states. Further Youth Champions and Ambassadors will be announced in due course.

Speaking at the in-person launch at Marlborough House, London, the Commonwealth-Secretary General, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, said:

“It is my absolute pleasure as Secretary-General to be here launching the Commonwealth Year of Youth and I am excited that the next 12 months will bring Commonwealth leaders, stakeholders and citizens together to celebrate and empower our 1.5bn young people.

“Young people are at the heart of the Commonwealth Charter. Despite the many challenges they face, young people give so much towards every aspect of the social, economic, political and cultural life of our 56 member countries.

“The Commonwealth’s future success rests with them. So here today we commit to investing in and promoting their development and engagement at community, regional, national and pan-Commonwealth levels throughout this year and beyond.”

The launch featured the unveiling of the Year of Youth 2023 logo and website and gave an overview of the most prominent youth-focused events that will take place throughout 2023 – the events calendar can be found here.

These include but are not limited to: Commonwealth Day, the Commonwealth Youth Games – to be held in Trinidad and Tobago – the Commonwealth Global Youth Work Conference, and the Commonwealth Youth Awards Ceremony.

The Commonwealth Year of the Youth initiative also marks the 50th anniversary for the world-renowned Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP). In August, the CYP will mark 50 years of working hand-in-hand with governments to support the education and personal development of millions of young people and giving thousands more the opportunity to sit beside world leaders and advocate for their peers.

The planning of the Year of Youth will be overseen by an Advisory Committee who will take responsibility for ensuring events and activities reflect the diverse, talented and vibrant youth population within the Commonwealth’s 56 member countries.

The launch was attended by Ministers including Hon. Rosemary Mbabazi, Minister of Youth, Rwanda, Hon. Shaza Fatima Khawaja, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Youth Affairs, Pakistan, Hon. Sarah Mateke Nyirabashitsi, Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs, Uganda, and Hon. Shamfa Cudjoe, Minister of Sports and Community Development, Trinidad and Tobago, as well as representatives from the Commonwealth Youth Council, Commonwealth Games Federation, the Royal Commonwealth Society and other youth stakeholders.

The special designation for the Year of Youth comes from a mandate by Commonwealth Heads of Government who met in Kigali, Rwanda in June 2022. There, Heads declared 2023 be focused on empowering young people, stakeholders and governments, to sped-up progress on youth-focused issues.

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