Youth: The Leaders of Change Today

The city of New York is flooded with celebrities and high-level politicians this week as the United Nations gathers to adopt the next set of global goals for sustainable development – but there is another group of individuals that just cannot be silenced any longer.

There has never before been such a large population of young people in the world – approximately 1.8 billion between the ages of 10 and 24. Youth and children make up the vast majority of the population in 48 of the world’s least developed countries. This means potential for a tremendous amount of progress, since young people are already leaders of change in their communities. With the knowledge and tools to bring about change, they need the support of the gate-keepers and key-holders – the one’s who often hog the microphones and take over the stages at high-level events like the United Nations General Assembly.

Illustration by Elina Tuomi
Illustration by Elina Tuomi

Young people, and especially young women, face several barriers in the decision-making process due to a lack of inclusiveness and invisible hierarchies. Yet – it is important for all heads of state, ministers, religious leaders and other international development professionals to acknowledge that youth are not only instrumental, but essential to ensuring that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be met.

At Girls’ Globe we are amplifying the voices of youth this week – young women and men who are drivers of change for equality and social progress in their communities. Don’t miss our conversations with young leaders LIVE from New York City on Periscope, and listen to their lightning talks on Instagram. Their inspirational stories and strong energy will light the way forward and will lead the way for others to follow.

My message to global leaders at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit that starts today is this:

“Give space and time to truly listen to young people – without them, you will never succeed!”


Follow @GirlsGlobe on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Periscope, and #GlobalGoalsLive for coverage related to the United Nations General Assembly Week – and the health and rights of women and girls in particular.

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Category: Development
Tagged with: #GlobalGoalsLive    #YouthVoices    Global Goals    post-2015    Sustainable Development Goals    young people

Julia Wiklander


Julia is the Founder and President of Girls' Globe. She is optimistic about our world's future and the power of solidarity and storytelling. Julia is an economist and entrepreneur.

See more posts from Julia Wiklander

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