For many, the New Year marks a time for change, for new beginnings, and for renewed commitments. At the start of this new year, we would like to take a moment to remember that this is the United Nations International Year of Youth, which is being celebrated from August 2010 through August 2011.

In December 2009, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 64/134 dedicating this year to youth. This resolution signifies the importance of youth-related issues. Currently, half of the world’s 7 billion people are younger than 25. More than one billion are between the ages of 12 and 24, and of these, nearly 85 percent live in low-resource countries.  Youth today face many challenges, including limited access to resources, healthcare, education, employment, and economic opportunities. Youth account for more than half of all new HIV infections, and have a high level of unmet family planning needs.

“Youth deserve our full commitment – full access to education, adequate healthcare, employment opportunities, financial services, and full participation in public life.” - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Youth are our future. Young people in all countries can bring about positive social change; their ideas, energy, and vision are our greatest resources.

What are you doing to celebrate youth this year? Use the “leave a comment button” to join the conversation. If you want to participate in the UN Year of Youth, visit the links below:

The official Year of Youth Web site

Year of Youth Activities Calendar