‘Empowering Young People for the African Renaissance’

Participants of the International Youth Day celebration held in Monrovia


— Liberia YMCA celebrates International Youth Day

In observance of this year’s International Youth Day, Timotheus Kamaboakai, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Liberia, said the organization remains committed not only to celebrating the day, but to ensure that they continue the vision of empowering young people for the African renaissance.

International Youth Day is celebrated on August 12 of every year and is celebrated across the world. The theme of International Youth Day 2022 is “Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages”. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world needs to leverage the full potential of all generations. Solidarity across generations is key to sustainable development.

However, the most crucial aspect of the African renaissance, according to Kamaboakai, who addressed participants in the YMCA Gym on Broad Street, is to ensure that young people have the space to speak out and have an impact on their community.

He further observed that Africa is one continent that has a very high youth population that will continue to grow over time and, as such, the day was being marked all over the world to raise awareness about cultural and legal issues related to the youth.

According to him, as they celebrate International Youth Day, it is a very important day for all, not only in Liberia — where young people make up at least two-thirds of the country's population — but in many parts of Africa.

“So, we want to make sure that young people are able to lead, learn, and be active in their communities. Always tell yourself that you’re a leader now so that you need to prepare yourself for tomorrow.”

Timotheus Kamaboakai, CEO, Liberia YMCA

He told the participants that being a leader today will determine the actions they will take tomorrow, and if they ignore their responsibilities today, they will not have that space anymore to influence the society of tomorrow.

“As we celebrate this day today, let us always remind ourselves that our commitment to young people is not only on this day—it is just a day to commemorate and to remind ourselves that we have a huge challenge ahead of us,” Kamaboakai urged the participants.

He calls on all to promote intergenerational dialogue and co-creation of solutions so that “we ensure a united, peaceful, prosperous world that is more equitable, just, and inclusive for all people. We should not only listen to young people, but we should ensure that they take their rightful place in decision-making platforms at all levels.” 

Meanwhile, the celebration of the day was marked by a panel discussion between the participants, YMCA staff, and others on the importance of the day and why it is celebrated worldwide. 

It was organized by the YMCA under the auspices of the Civil Peace Service and was attended by over a hundred participants, including students attending the YMCA.