International Youth Day: Opportunities for the Next Generation
This year's United Nations International Youth Day, on 12 August, celebrates intergenerational solidarity with the aim of creating a world of opportunity for all ages. This is something that aligns closely with Esade’s values: the school believes that everyone deserves the chance to Do Good and Do Better, no matter their age.
With the challenges young people face in 2022 very different from those of previous generations, individuals and organizations all have a part to play in promoting unity and creating positive prospects.
The unmistakable effects of climate change cast a very long shadow over the future of the planet, and this negativity is felt keenly by the younger members of society.
A study of 10,000 young people in 10 countries, published in the medical journal The Lancet, found that 84 percent were worried about climate change, and more than half reported feeling sad, anxious, powerless, helpless, or guilty. Just under half (45 percent) said their feelings about climate change negatively affected their daily life and functioning.
The increase in housing costs across the EU over the last decade has had a disproportionate impact on young people. While conditions vary significantly by country, in 2020 all EU Member States recorded a higher severe housing deprivation rate among young people than among the population as a whole, a higher rate of overcrowding, and a higher housing cost overburden (classed as more than 40 percent of income).
Combined with an ongoing reversal of rights in countries from America to Afghanistan, spiraling energy costs, 96.5 million people (21.9 percent of the population) in the EU at risk of poverty or social exclusion, and, of course, the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the responsibility falls on every generation to ease the burden unfairly placed on young people.
Paula García is president of the Esade Alumni Young Commission, which was created in 2018 to develop inclusive initiatives and content geared towards the outlook and specific needs of younger people.
“We young people must embrace our role as drivers of the changes that are necessary in order for society to advance,” she says.
“To achieve these changes, we have to innovate and take responsibility for continuing to build a better world through knowledge, diversity, and sustainable development.”
Paula and other positive role models like her are crucial in providing guidance and support. But a concerted effort is required by organizations to create programs and frameworks that provide opportunities and encourage intergenerational solidarity.
Current Esade students and its 67,000 alumni around the world are a great example of how solidarity and a shared sense of responsibility can create opportunities. The Esade community uses its combined skills and knowledge to promote a common identity and shared values that help build a fair, sustainable, and responsible society.
In April this year, Esade joined forces with Spain’s Junior Achievement Foundation, part of a network of global non-profit organizations that provide young people with experiences to help them develop the skills and competencies to succeed in a global economy.
The mini companies training program is aimed at high school, baccalaureate, and vocational program students in Spain, where the school drop-out rate is higher than the EU average and 17.3% of young people aged 15 to 29 are not in education or employment.
Over 30 Esade alumni act as volunteer mentors in the program, which is delivered in educational establishments in Catalonia and Madrid. The alumni help students to pinpoint needs, create ideas, and develop business plans and value proposals.
Esade students are also currently involved in 38 projects across 19 countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe as part of SUD, the social responsibility arm of Esade. Established in 2003, SUD offers students opportunities to play an active part in institutions and initiatives around the world with the collective aim of observing, reflecting on, and acting within communities to promote equitable and fair development.
The work of the Esade community clearly demonstrates the school’s commitment to creating opportunities for young people that benefit the world. Our programs, foundations, scholarships, and events exist to bring young people closer to a better future. International Youth Day is a reminder that we must keep striving to Do Good, Do Better – and do more.
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