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Convening a global celebration of youth

AFS Intercultural Programs is pleased to announce the Permanent Mission of Malta to the United Nations as the lead endorser for the celebration of International Youth Day at the opening of the 28th Session of the AFS Youth Assembly on August 11, 2023. This celebration is organized with the support of the United Nations Department of Global Communications Civil Society Unit.

The International Youth Day celebration is tentatively scheduled to take place at the UN General Assembly Hall with 1,000 young leaders from around the world in attendance. This ceremony will kick off the AFS Youth Assembly, a leading global platform that cultivates an international network of young leaders and changemakers through exchange, education, action and impact.

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This Celebration of International Youth Day is endorsed by:

Malta is committed to ensuring that youth in all their diversity fully and meaningfully engage in all areas of decision-making for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, and we are further committed to giving them a voice also at the Security Council. We are proud to partner with AFS Intercultural Programs and hope the International Youth Day will serve to empower, encourage, and inspire youth to accelerate progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

—H.E. Ambassador Vanessa Frazier, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Malta to the UN.


6.30 – 8 pm ET on August 11, 2023

In celebration of the United Nations International Youth Day, and coinciding with the launch of the 28th Session of The Youth Assembly, we will highlight the role of young people in coming together to amplify engagement and leadership in all areas of decision making and action for the Global Goals. Featuring keynotes and discussion between youth leaders, this event will bring together a dynamic group of young active global citizens and give them a chance to connect with the United Nations and one another.

The program will consist of:

  • Opening Plenary with Keynote Addresses
  • International Youth Day Panel Discussion with youth delegates, experts and activists to inform the conversation through inclusive and participatory engagement
  • AFS Award for Young Global Citizens Finalists Announcement

Keynote Speakers

H.E. Ms. Vanessa Frazier

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Malta to the UN

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H.E. Mr. Csaba Kőrösi

President of the 77th Session of the General Assembly, United Nations

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Maher Nasser

Director of Outreach in the United Nations Department of Global Communications

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Wendy Kopp

CEO and Co-Founder, Teach for All

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Daniel Obst

President and CEO, AFS Intercultural Programs

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The world has only one hope to get the Sustainable Development Goals back on track – and that’s the power of transformation, including young people’s roles as decision shapers. We need their enthusiasm, their ideas, and their suggestions.”

—President of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Csaba Kőrösi

Objectives and Outcomes

This event is open to interested members of the general public, but will also serve to kickstart two days of discussions, skill-building workshops, networking, and ideation challenges at the Youth Assembly, with the support of experts and practitioners in the field. We hope that this UN celebration will be the first step in our young attendees' journey to make a breakthrough to a better future.
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Empower, encourage, and inspire youth action and impact in connection with SDGs around the world
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Consult youth and collect their perspective, proposals, and ideas for actions on the Global Goals
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Engage youth in the UN system
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Compel youth to come together to voice out their perspectives on the Global Goals

“We are thrilled to partner with the Permanent Mission of Malta and have the President of the General Assembly speak at the opening ceremony. With only 7 years left to accomplish the Global Goals, the world needs more active global citizens who can come together, share perspectives and take action to tackle global challenges. The AFS Youth Assembly will provide the much-needed platform to make that impact possible.”

—Daniel Obst, President and CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs

Concept Note

It’s been seven years since the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were introduced. The world has only 7 short years left to make the SDGs a reality by 2030. Young people today feel a sense of gridlock; that progress is lagging behind. There are 1.2 billion young people around the world who will bear the brunt of the burden if we don’t make progress towards building a better future. Global challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic, conflicts, climate change, learning crisis and surging unemployment have drastically impeded development efforts and led to the rise of inequalities in all parts of life, everywhere. There is both urgency and an unprecedented opportunity to tackle the challenges during this pivotal mid-point.

The United Nations Secretary General, António Gueterres states that “humanity faces a stark and urgent choice: breakdown or breakthrough. The choices we make — or fail to make — today could result in further breakdown and a future of perpetual crises, or a breakthrough to a better future.” We must unite for global action to make a breakthrough in response to these challenges.

Our Common Agenda calls for renewal of solidarity particularly with younger generations, and the Youth 2030 Progress Report 2022 demonstrates how the UN system is working with governments in advancing global commitments for and with youth. This momentum should be accelerated to realize meaningful transformation for people and the planet before it’s too late.

About the AFS Youth Assembly

The 28th Session of the AFS Youth Assembly (August 11-13, 2023), themed “Breakthrough to a Better Future,” will be centered on amplifying young people’s engagement and leadership in all areas of decision making and action for the Global Goals. The event will address five core areas where there are urgent challenges and exciting potential for young people to make a breakthrough:

  • Reduce Inequalities: Tackling Poverty and Gender Inequality
  • Education & Employment: Skills for the Future
  • Protect Our Planet: Climate Action
  • Global Trust: Peace & Information Integrity
  • Global Solidarity: Multilateralism and Regional Cooperation for a Better Future

AFS Intercultural Programs is a leading international education and exchange organization that has been providing intercultural learning opportunities to young people for over 100 years. As an organization that promotes intercultural understanding and global citizenship, AFS is proud to be the organizer of the Youth Assembly as a platform for young people to engage in meaningful dialogue and action towards a better future.