THE BLOG
08/11/2014 02:33 pm ET Updated Oct 11, 2014

On International Youth Day, Celebrate the Power of Youth

Over half the world's population is under the age of 30. The members of this youth generation -- the largest in history -- aren't waiting for the future to arrive to start leading; they are leading now.

For example, Katherine Commale is a young Pennsylvania girl who at age 5 started raising awareness and money to fight malaria. She spoke at schools and churches, created presentations, and made gift certificates to raise money. By the time she turned 6, she had already raised more than $10,000 for anti-malaria bed nets in Africa.

Katherine's story is happening in town after town.

A study last year from the Women's Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, which was supported by the United Nations Foundation, found that nearly 9 out of 10 children ages 8 to 19 give to charity and more than half volunteer.

International Youth Day on August 12 is a moment to recognize and celebrate the promise and power of young people to change their communities, their counties, and the world.

This youth generation is informed, connected, and global. Given their knowledge of social media, which transcends borders, young people today are more apt to look for global solutions and approaches. And as they begin to tackle some of the world's most pressing problems, from climate change to human rights to peace and security, these millennials are looking to a new, cross-border ally: the United Nations.

The UN is the world's platform for peace and progress, and it is the one institution where every person has a voice. Connecting young people with the UN is a win-win idea: Young people have the chance to drive change on a global scale, and the UN benefits from their ideas and perspectives.

That is why on International Youth Day we are launching our new GenUN site. GenUN empowers young people to join the UN in solving some of the world's most important challenges.

As the online youth hub for the United Nations Association of the USA, a program of the UN Foundation, GenUN provides resources and opportunities for young people to get involved, lend their unique perspective, and help the UN build a better world for all. Moreover, GenUN is empowering a new generation of Americans to build a strong and constructive relationship with the UN.

This development matters to all of us: Young people will increasingly own the problems of the coming decades; but they will also own the solutions. They are the architects of the future, and by working closely with the UN, young people can build a better world for everyone.