INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE AFRICAN YOUTH: Youths Can Make Peace Happen

AFRICAN UNION, November 1st 2010
AFRICAN YOUTH DAY AND THE LAUNCH OF THE
INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF YOUTH
Theme: « DIALOGUE AND MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING»
MESSAGE FROM H.E.Mr. Jean PING, CHAIRPERSON OF THE AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION.

TO THE AFRICAN YOUTH

On the occasion of the African Youth Day 2010 and the International Year of Youth, I have the great pleasure to convey my sincere congratulations and my best wishes to all African Youth within the continent and the Diaspora!

African Union believes in your dynamism, optimism, solidarity and dedication to make a peaceful Africa, while the Continent is celebrating Peace and Security for sustainable Development. I am fully confident that African youth are playing important role in this process and contributing in sharing the peace values on the Continent, because youth can make peace happen.

The celebration of the African Youth Day on 1st November and 12 months of celebration of the occasion of the international Year of Youth are, together, given opportunities to value mutual understanding and strengthen peace among the young people in Africa, by using more comprehensive dialogue and avoiding conflicts. The theme chosen for both events is so important and meaningful for the whole Africa in a general manner and in particular for the youth. Peaceful communication and dialogue is needed in Africa and can lead all stakeholders to consensus and mutual understanding in so many issues favourable for sustainable development.

The African Union is grateful for your efforts towards networking capacity building, sharing of knowledge, values, collaboration spirit and actions with the AUC, the public authorities and private sector within the continent. The African Union, through its Commission, is also committed to provide the necessary means to facilitate youth participation, visibility, contribution and concrete results for sustainable impacts on African development. The Commission will continue contributing to the strengthening of the youth capacities, skills and networking. The AU Heads of State and Government have always expressed their political will to see the young people strengthened and empowered for quality contribution to the positive change in Africa. Therefore, you, young people of Africa, should take advantage of this opportunity and work harder for more quality and sustainable achievements. Considering the fact that in 2010, in the Summit of Heads of State and Government have decided to devote the July 2011 Summit to the reflection on ways and means to “accelerate youth empowerment for sustainable development” is even more expression of the recognition of the role that African Youth can and must play within the Continent, not only in its quest for sustainable peace, but also in development and true integration of its people, including the youth.

In response to the call of the Heads of State, the Commission, the youth leaders and the African Union Ministers in charge of youth are working through approved frameworks, programmes and projects to improve youth capacities and participation, such as the establishment and implementation of the African Union Youth Volunteers Corps, Roadmap to implement the plan of action for the Decade for youth development, the Promotion of the technical vocational education training, the Implementation of the African youth Charter, the establishment of the database and the mapping on African youth organizations, the active preparation of July 2011 Summit etc. A common position for priority actions for African youth development is adopted by African Ministers of Youth, presented in the World Youth Conference in Mexico and taken into account in the global Declaration that was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in September 2010. The youth agenda has become a priority matter in many member States and considered in many Partners’ mandate, as a necessary road to sustain African development.

I, therefore, wish to encourage all the AU Member states and the African Youth to take the advantage from this momentum on the global and continental concern towards Youth development agenda and enhance partnership in order to give more impetus on youth policies and programmes. I also encourage the stakeholders involved in youth issues to engage more dialogue in order to establish mutual understanding on problems and challenges facing the youth in Africa. It’s the only way to reach peaceful and sustainable solutions. This celebration offers a great opportunity to establish mutual confidence between generations in order to reduce the damageable existing gaps.

Finally, I encourage the African Youth to continue to champion for the dissemination of the African values among themselves and the society in general. Science and Technology are extremely important on this continent, but it may not always promote Patriotism and Pan-Africanism, but the values of Patriotism can promote good citizenship, governance, encourage the dissemination of values and constructive learning dedicated to the relevant knowledge and skills to a better mastery of Science, Technology, ICT and other necessary knowledge towards a sustainable development of Africa.

African Youth, I know you can bring the change, but are you doing enough to promote dialogue and mutual understanding” towards values, leadership, capacity building, etc.?

Your charter: the African Youth Charter holds the answer. Your responsibilities and duties to promote tolerance, understanding, dialogue and respect for others regardless of age, race ethnicity, colour, gender, religion, status and political affiliation are stated. The Charter has entered into force since August 2009. Ensure that it is implemented. Be proud of your Charter and use it! The youth in the world are using it… Be proud of being African Youth, the driving force of the continent’s development and WORK PROUDLY WITH GOOD CONSCIENCE FOR AFRICA!

Long live to the African Youth and May God continue blessing Africa!

November 1st 2010
Jean Ping
Chairperson of the African Union Commission

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