The Role of the Youth in Establishing Unity in a Diversified Multicultural Society Years passed, adults have tried to control youth because they represent the future. Young people often fight back, trying to create their own world that is separate from their parents. At the end of World War II they were finally given a name: “teen-agers,” an ideal of young people as consumers. That model for youth spread around the world, and still exists today. Throughout history, young people have played an active role in shaping major social and political advancements.
Today’s growing globalization and cross-border movements create an environment, which is increasingly diverse in terms of culture and religion. Young people’s contribution to understanding the impact of this diversity on everyday life as well as politics is now more crucial than ever. Moreover, as they constitute the largest segment of population in many regions, the role of youth in shaping their country’s response to cultural and religious diversity is vital.
We clearly see youth as an essential asset – a crucial pool of talent, ideas and energy – that plays a critical role in addressing the challenges related to global and local instability. We must get control of this. We must motivate our youth. We must teach responsibility and goal setting. I fear if we do not we will soon be supporting an entire generation of homeless and needlessly on welfare families. Things have to change, with our schools, with the older generation being good role models, with the older generation being mentors, and with the youth who are right now doing nothing.
We believe that it is important to recognize young people’s own contribution to promoting respect and understanding and fostering dialogue among people of different backgrounds. With teenage unemployment soaring, young people can no longer influence the world with their wallets. As student protests began exploding across the globe this fall, we felt compelled to connect our work to these burgeoning movements. Similar generational conflict and disparate youth movements were born out of the Great Depression. These movements share a common goal: to re-imagine the future. It’s an exciting premise that is perhaps the hallmark of adolescence, and a vision typical of history’s most influential youth cultures. Many adults discredit youthful rebellion simply as an emotional rite of passage. However, it is our belief that this style of unrest can bring about real change.