International Youth Day 2023
Conscience Propels the Wheel of Time
Youth Creates Sustainability
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze
Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men
Vice President of the Association of World Citizens,
NGO in Consultative Status with ECOSOC and Associated with the UN DPI
President of the Federation of World Peace and Love
August 12, 2023
Distinguished guests, dear friends, ladies and gentlemen,
The young generation, full of energy and enthusiasm, is the hope and future of humankind. To commemorate the International Youth Day 2023, the United Nations has adopted the theme of “Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World” to support the connection of the youth to a sustainable future.
According to United Nations statistics, there are currently 1.2 billion young people between the ages of 15 and 24, accounting for 16 percent of the global population. By 2030, the young generation is projected to have grown by 7 percent to nearly 1.3 billion. In order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the young generation will be a key group that cannot be ignored.
On account of the important role the youth play in times of transformation, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY) in 1995, which provides a policy framework and practical guidelines for youth development to 2000 and beyond. WPAY covers fifteen youth priority areas and reflects the three themes of the first International Youth Year: Participation, Development, and Peace. The fields of action identified are education, employment, hunger and poverty, health, environment, substance abuse, juvenile justice, leisure-time activities, girls and young women and the full and effective participation of youth in the life of society and in decision-making, as well as globalization, information and communication technologies, HIV/AIDS, armed conflict, and intergenerational issues. These areas influence not only the development of young people, but also the future trends of the world.
Echoing Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education, the young generation needs conscience education from an early age, in order to inspire their "conscience" within. They need to learn to follow the guidance of their conscience, to distinguish between right and wrong, and to take positive actions. All human behaviours are prompted by “the heart.” Confused and bewildered by the five inherent poisons: greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance, and doubt, the human heart deviates from the right path, leading to biased behaviour and decisions. By adopting "conscience" as the compass to guide the young generation to live up the full power of goodness and to embrace the value of altruism, we will be able to turn the tide of the current world situation and move towards the beautiful realm of sustainability and one world. The power of goodness includes: being compassionate to life, being friendly to the environment, making good use of knowledge, following the laws of nature, learning the balance and harmony between yin and yang, and exerting wisdom to resolve conflicts. All these are the core elements of conscience education, as well as the essence of lifetime learning for world citizens.
Conscience education and the culture of conscience guide young people to fully embrace their strengths in society. Conscience-based values will help them utilize their “green skills,” so that they will have a better chance to create a better future. For example, products designed are adaptable under climate change, and manufacturing processes comply with relevant environmental regulations, etc. Under such a virtuous cycle, people from various backgrounds and nature can all position themselves to co-exist, share virtues, and flourish in sustainability and prosperity.
In the 21st century, humanity is facing various challenges, including geopolitical instability, extreme climate change, ecological imbalance, wars and disputes, and so on. The world citizens need to unite the forces of goodness and wisdom, and to fight for survival and sustainability without undue delay. We need a young generation with a great passion for life and the courage to overcome difficulties. The youth need to work hard to join the mission of promoting a culture of conscience. Let’s work together to propel the wheel of time with wisdom. We will be able to change the world and create a better future.
Best regards to all!