Celebrating International Youth Day
Unleash Youth’s Creativity, Promote Intergenerational Solidarity, and Create a World for All
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze
President of Federation of World Peace and Love
Vice-President of Association of World Citizens
Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men
August 12, 2022
Distinguished guests, dear friends, ladies and gentlemen, and youth, who are the backbone of society,
The term “youthquake” was selected as the 2017 word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries, representing the significant changes the youth have brought to the world on cultural, political, social, and economic levels. UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated, “Young people are on the front lines of the struggle to build a better future for all. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the dire need for the kind of transformational change they seek — and young people must be full partners in that effort.”
Youth are a powerful force for change in the world. It is important to carry forward the best aspects of cultural heritage while shaping the future and acting as the engine that moves the world forward. However, according to estimates from the 2018 Global Multidimensional Poverty Index released by the United Nations Development Programme and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, half of the world's poor are under the age of 18, lacking access to education and work. When youth are given the knowledge and opportunities they need to grow, they can be a positive force for the development of the world. The purpose of holding the “International Youth Day” commemorative activities is to raise the awareness of the international community on the importance of valuing the youth as a group, solving the problems of youth poverty, education, culture, unemployment, etc., cultivating young talents, encouraging young people to voluntarily devote themselves to social services and economic development, promoting international cooperation and sustainable development, and recognizing youth’s contribution to conflict prevention, support for diversity and inclusion, and social justice and peace. The growing crises in the world today highlight the importance of global solidarity. The theme of this year's International Youth Day is “Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages,” demonstrating the need for cooperation across generations.
All the generations today are facing unprecedented, extreme tests, forcing every generation living on Earth to begin thinking about what we have done to the Earth. Earth is our common home, nurturing all things and providing resources for our survival, yet our collective exploitation has prompted the Earth to launch a brutal counterattack. How to solve the problem? Is there still time to make amends?
By awakening the conscience and the sense of fairness and justice within each individual, we can restore a strong bond of trust between humans and nature, between people, and between nations, build a safety net that protects all humanity, and once again inspire people’s passion to create a better world. The younger generation was raised at a time when the Internet and global information exchange were already flourishing. The idea of the global village is widely accepted and extensively understood. Coupled with their pure conscience, enthusiasm, and action full of justice and courage, they can make good use of the Internet to touch people's hearts, inspiring others through action, sincerity, and kindness. This will in turn ignite people's conscience-guided energy, self-reflection, and reactions to promote substantial change. A new era allows youth to thrive, and youth can create a new era. Young people from all over the world practice their own values, exert their creativity, and connect with others. They also call on all generations, including children, adults, and senior citizens, to come together for a high goal and help bring about global sustainability, prosperity, and peace. The older generation should also actively pass on its torch to the younger generation. Through dialogue and encouragement, we should integrate the wisdom of different generations, and create opportunities for the sustainable future of mankind.
Over the past 20 years, I have led my dizi (disciples) of various generations, along with members of FOWPAL and AWC to visit 101 countries, to unite peace-loving people around the world through cultural exchanges, and to spread the culture of conscience, love, and peace to every corner of the world. Through technology, we have shortened the distance between generations, countries, and cultures, fostered good relationships among people, and strived for global stability and peace. We have witnessed first-hand that no matter what the unique characteristics of a generation, true love motivated by conscience is still a universal language among individuals. Intergenerational solidarity is the solution to our common problems.
On this day of celebration, let us honor the value and significance of unity among generations! Through love, peace, and conscience, we have the wisdom and courage to overcome all kinds of difficulties. Because of care, tolerance, and cooperation, we no longer feel lonely, and the future of the world is full of hope. May everyone forge warm friendships with love, kindness, and sincerity to create a peaceful world that is truly true, truly kind, and truly beautiful!
May you all be blessed with happiness, safety, and peace every day.