This Monday (12 August) is International Youth Day. This is “an annual celebration of the role of young women and men as essential partners in change”, says the United Nations. And, this year, there is no shortage of young role models to choose from.
There is 15-year-old Cori Gauff, the tennis star who became the youngest person to qualify for Wimbledon and went on to beat her idol Venus Williams.
There is 17-year-old Billie Eilish, whose second album peaked at number one in multiple countries.
Then there is 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, the climate activist who has inspired thousands of young people to demand action for the climate crisis by skipping lessons and attending protests on Fridays. The #schoolstrike4climate attracted 1.5 million protesters around the world in February.
“I don’t care about age,” wrote Thunberg in The Guardian recently. “I don’t have as much experience and, therefore, I listen more. But I also have the right to express my opinion, no matter my age. Also, being young is a great advantage since we see the world from a new perspective and we are not afraid to make radical changes.”
Do you think young people can change the world?
Read Our Stories
Teen heroes amaze, delight and kindle hope
Do teenagers deserve more respect? The news is suddenly full of amazing young people, whose energy and idealism is taking the world by storm. So, how come adolescence has such a bad name?
What YOU think of Boris, dogs, and banning meat
Do teenagers know best? The Day has been running daily polls to find out what you think about everything — from politics to Jeremy Kyle, to dogs as pets. So, what did you have to say?
Debate over plan to revive National Service
Do teenagers need a compulsory National Citizen Service? Conservative hopeful Rory Stewart thinks that a universal scheme could unite the country and give young people a sense of purpose.
Watch Greta Thunberg give a short speech at a climate protest in London in April. Discuss whether her youth is an advantage or a disadvantage when it comes to achieving her goals.
- Class debate: “Young people have it better today than ever before.”
- The theme for this year’s International Youth Day is “Transforming Education”. Write five reasons you think education is important, and five ways you think it could be improved in your own country.
- Write a news story about a young person you admire. It could be a celebrity, someone you know personally, someone from the news, or a fictional character who inspires you.