International Youth Day is celebrated every year on the 12th of August, and this day, the world comes together to celebrate and draw attention to the different issues surrounding the youth. The theme for IYD 2020 is "Youth Engagement for Global Action," which explores how young members of the community, like you, can help make a difference.
Our world is continuously evolving, and our lives continue to be shaped by the effects of globalisation. Today, our life is something far beyond ourselves alone – our choices and actions impact an entire global community, and this has been more evident than ever during this pandemic. I think we can all agree on the fact that at some point, we have hoped to see ourselves as part of the Avengers squad, or just saving the world in one way or another, but how would you like to turn this into reality? Now, this is probably an overused question, but where do you see yourself in, say, 20 years? You may have vivid ideas in your mind – you may dream of becoming a successful scientist, doctor, entrepreneur, business executive, entertainer, lawyer – the opportunities are plenty! The world that we live in today is quite turbulent, with an ongoing pandemic, climate change, economic instabilities, and so many humanitarian crises.
As future leaders of tomorrow, you will come to realise that the life path that you build for yourself is inevitably going to impact your community and the environment. If you are reading this little excerpt, you, my friend, are privileged and blessed with the fruits of education and technology. But what about millions of people like you who lack these facilities? What would their future look like?
My advice to you is this – we are no longer in a world where we can afford to get by with just selfish ambitions. In whatever life path you choose for yourself, try to make an effort and extend support to uplift those around you. Make use of these opportunities that you have to build yourself as a person and a student. Engage yourself in community issues, and contribute towards your society in whatever small way you can. Today, we are all striving to achieve the targets set by the UN SDGs and help build back better, but the future of this world is in your hands. Aim to be something extraordinary, to impact something beyond yourselves. Make this world a better, happier place for all of us.
Voice of Habiba Al Mar'ashi
Habiba Al Mar'ashi is an Emirati environmentalist and the Founder and Chairperson of the esteemed Emirates Environmental Group in 1991. In 2004, she also founded the Arabia CSR Network (ACSRN), devoted to corporate social responsibility across the Arab region and in 2006 she co-founded The Emirates Green Building Council. Mrs. Habiba Al Mar’ashi is a monthly contributor at the Khaleej Times, where she shares some valuable insights on collectively building a cleaner, greener community in the UAE. She is also devoted to promoting sustainable habits and environmental awareness amongst the youth – the leaders of tomorrow. Through a cluster of annual educational programmes that cover the UAE and the wider Arab Region.