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Convening a global celebration of youth

AFS Intercultural Programs is pleased to announce the Permanent Mission of Malta to the United Nations as the lead endorser for the celebration of International Youth Day on August 11, 2023. This celebration is organized with the support of the United Nations Department of Global Communications Civil Society Unit.

The International Youth Day celebration took place at the UN with 800 young leaders and participants from around the world in attendance.

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This Celebration of International Youth Day is endorsed by:

“Malta is committed to ensuring that youth in all their diversity fully and meaningfully engage in all areas of decision-making for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, and we are further committed to giving them a voice also at the Security Council. We are proud to partner with AFS Intercultural Programs and hope the International Youth Day will serve to empower, encourage, and inspire youth to accelerate progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

—H.E. Ambassador Vanessa Frazier, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Malta to the UN.


6.30 – 8 pm ET on August 11, 2023

In celebration of the United Nations International Youth Day, with the theme of Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World, we highlighted the role of young people in coming together to amplify engagement and leadership in all areas of decision making and action, especially in creating an environmentally sustainable and climate friendly world. Youth must be at the forefront of obtaining green skills for the future as they can contribute to a green transition for a longer period of time.

The program consisted of:

  • Opening Plenary with Keynote Addresses
  • International Youth Day Panel Discussion with youth delegates, experts and activists to inform the conversation through inclusive and participatory engagement


Keynote speakers

H.E. Ms. Vanessa Frazier

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Malta to the UN (Video)

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H.E. Mr. Csaba Kőrösi

President of the 77th Session of the General Assembly, United Nations

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Maher Nasser

Director of Outreach in the United Nations Department of Global Communications

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Gabriela Ramos

Assistant Director-General for the Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO (Video)

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Wided Bouchamaoui

CEO of Hédi Bouchamaoui Group and 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet) (Video)

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Wendy Kopp

CEO and Co-Founder, Teach for All

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Darryl Rattray

DYCD’s Deputy Commissioner for Strategic Partnerships at the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development

representing New York City Mayor Eric L. Adams, and the Department of Youth and Community Development’s (DYCD) Commissioner Keith Howard

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Daniel Obst

President and CEO, AFS Intercultural Programs

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International Youth Day Panel on Green Skills for
Youth: Towards a Sustainable World

Hana Sahatqija

Youth Engagement and Entrepreneurship Lead, UNICEF

Amira Nasim

Migration Policy Officer, International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Amanda Nesheiwat

Deputy Director of Sustainability and Community Outreach for Hudson County Improvement Authority in New Jersey

Noel Ifeanyi Alumona

Founder & CEO, Boys Champions

Ali Mustafa

AFS Intercultural Programs Consultant, UN Relations (Moderator)

“The world has only one hope to get the Sustainable Development Goals back on track – and that’s the power of transformation, including young people’s roles as decision shapers. We need their enthusiasm, their ideas, and their suggestions.”

—President of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Csaba Kőrösi

Objectives and Outcomes

This event is open to interested members of the general public. We hope that this international celebration will be the first step in our young attendees' journey to make a breakthrough to a better future.
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Empower, encourage, and inspire youth action and impact in connection with SDGs around the world
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Consult youth and collect their perspective, proposals, and ideas for actions on the Global Goals
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Engage youth in the UN system
Compel youth to come together to voice out their perspectives on the Global Goals and the theme for International Youth Day: Green Skills

“We are thrilled to partner with the Permanent Mission of Malta and have the President of the General Assembly speak at the International Youth Day Celebration. With only 7 years left to accomplish the Global Goals, the world needs more active global citizens who can come together, share perspectives and take action to tackle global challenges.”

—Daniel Obst, President and CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs

Concept Note

It’s been seven years since the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were introduced. The world has only 7 short years left to make the SDGs a reality by 2030. Young people today feel a sense of gridlock; that progress is lagging behind. There are 1.2 billion young people around the world who will bear the brunt of the burden if we don’t make progress towards building a better future. Global challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic, conflicts, climate change, learning crisis and surging unemployment have drastically impeded development efforts and led to the rise of inequalities in all parts of life, everywhere. There is both urgency and an unprecedented opportunity to tackle the challenges during this pivotal mid-point.

The United Nations Secretary General, António Gueterres states that “humanity faces a stark and urgent choice: breakdown or breakthrough. The choices we make — or fail to make — today could result in further breakdown and a future of perpetual crises, or a breakthrough to a better future.” We must unite for global action to make a breakthrough in response to these challenges.

Our Common Agenda calls for renewal of solidarity particularly with younger generations, and the Youth 2030 Progress Report 2022 demonstrates how the UN system is working with governments in advancing global commitments for and with youth. This momentum should be accelerated to realize meaningful transformation for people and the planet before it’s too late.