Youth Move the World Forward.

Multiple panel discussions about “Youth Migration and Development: Moving Development Forward” took place August 12 to promote and celebrate International Youth Day. The United Nations Secretariat, the Labor Office and the Millennium Development Goals Secretariat organized this event together at the United Nations headquarters, inviting all youth to participate, learn from the panelists and provide their insiders’ feedback on the topic of youth migration. The event, which took place in the morning, featured a panel of experts who presented information about current and growing migration trends among young people, and also about the structure and programs that exist to aid immigrants left vulnerable to the dangers of migration. The event also included a panel of young female immigrants from different backgrounds who shared their heartwarming stories and the work they are doing in their own communities to help immigrants adapt and succeed in a foreign country. In between the panels and presentation, videos from all around the world portrayed what life is like for an immigrant.

The immigration of youth is a broad topic in itself, and the event presented a number of ways this issue can be discussed. From the demographic and social point of view, migration is a growing trend that promises to continue rising. According to studies cited by Ms. Sabine Hennipeaboat youthng from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in 2012 there were 27 million migrants, of which one-eighth are between fifteen and twenty-four years old. That influx of young migrants promises positive benefits (like an increased labor force) for the incoming country. But immigration also brings the problems of human trafficking and labor exploitation, especially among immigrants that move out of their home country for economic reasons.United Nations headquarters, inviting all youth to participate, learn from the panelists and provide their insiders’ feedback on the topic of youth migration. The event, which took place in the morning, featured a panel of experts who presented information about current and growing migration trends among young people, and also about the structure and programs that exist to aid immigrants left vulnerable to the dangers of migration. The event also included a panel of young female immigrants from different backgrounds who shared their heartwarming stories and the work they are doing in their own communities to help immigrants adapt and succeed in a foreign country. In between the panels and presentation, videos from all around the world portrayed what life is like for an immigrant.

After presentations that highlighted information and research on the topic, a panel composed of young people shared their experience as immigrants, undocumented young people and political refugees. One of the panelists was Ms. Rajin Alqallih, a political refugee from Syria. She pointed out that “Nobody chooses to be a refugee, but they leave their country seeking both security and dignity.” When asked if she would go back to her country if she had the chance, she said, “I will quote another refugee that said, ‘Wherever you go, east or west, home is best.’” The wonderful thing about these young panelists is that although life has been hard on them, they have found their way to help other people who, like them, are struggling in a foreign country. That was the message of today: being young is a commitment to enable progress and the change that is needed in the world.

Finally, the event also featured the winner of the “2013 Youth Labour Migration Video Contest:” that was Ms. Laura Garciandia with her project “Ayúdalos a llegar” (‘Help them get there’). This project aims to help immigrants from Latin America who leave their countries in order to improve their life in other nations. You can watch a video about Ms. Garciandia’s initiative below.

For more information about the International Youth Day 2013, visit the event’s webpage: http://www.ilo.org/global/meetings-and-events/events/youth-day/lang–en/index.htm

This blog was created and posted by Maria Gonzalez (Peace Boat US Intern).

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