Young people dominate today’s discourse on issues that affect nations and the world as a whole. This has been reported on issues of Social Entrepreneurship, Technological Disruption, volunteering in Development initiatives and Education. Despite this positive influence young people have on the narrative for current affairs, there are negative implications on those whose gifts, talents and contributions might not be enabled. This is reflected in the significant number of young people that channel their abilities towards injustices such as terrorism (i.e. ISIS in France, Mali, America, Nigeria and CAR civil disruptions) and various forms of crime (i.e. South Africa, Botswana). This is a result of the complex and dynamic challenges young people face today.
In considering the macroeconomic and social development trends globally; there has been a gradual increase in unemployment, global trade from and with the East (most notably China) and political instability in resource-dependent nations. These are areas of development that have some level of influence in the well being of young people at national and global levels. In contrast to this, progress has been made in issues of Health (Maternal births, HIV management, research efforts), regional/bi-lateral trade (SADC, COMESA, EU) and visibility of civic action from developing countries (Arab Spring, Action 2015 initiatives). The momentum and influence of young people was finally acknowledged through the recent historic UN resolution on youth, peace and security. This is viewed by many youth advocates and movements as a starting point to increased inclusion on policy making and social issues, in the least at global platforms.
The challenges young people face today can only be resolved with the consideration of young people’s input at decision making level. This might be unprecedented given the expectations of protocol agreements, regional/national structures and bureaucracy within international development sectors. However, it is clear that young people can take action in both positive and negative perspectives. In this regard, the onus is on the current leadership at national and global level to create an enabling environment for young people within decision making frameworks. The kind of environment that allows for differences in religion, background, socioeconomic standing and other aspects that have contributed to the discourse of successes achieved by young people mentioned in the introduction. It is clear that an environment that enables creativity, problem solving and opportunities for young people to explore, results in a great narrative for society at large. The three aspects are also the most basic and fundamental elements for leaders in policy making structures to facilitate through peace building, inclusion and globalization.
The importance of young people has been portrayed in driving the narrative of current affairs globally. However, this would not be possible without intergenerational knowledge exchange, achieving equity in human rights and intersecting efforts to the macro and social economic challenges faced globally. This will not only ensure the inclusion of young people, but enable them to change the narrative of current affairs into one of prosperity, well being and social outcomes.