Message from Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of the 2009 UNESCO World Youth Festival
Since its creation in 1945 to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science and culture, UNESCO has placed strong emphasis on developing policies and programmes that focus on youth. This is founded on a belief that young people’s formative experiences affect their Iife expectations: they are both the embodiment of the present and our future.
In this spirit, the 2009 UNESCO World Youth Festival in Stuttgart will gather 500 young people from all around the world for a festive week of intercultural exchange. Participants will have the opportunity to form lasting networks and connections, based on shared values, mutual understanding and tolerance. These are the building blocks of peace and of a just and sustainable future.
The youth of today have to be aware of the challenges of sustainable development and climate change as they will lead and live the changes required to respond to them.
I therefore welcome the initiative of the two-day youth Congress on the theme “Protection of the climate and energy for our future” at the Stuttgart City Hall, which will enable participants to explore the human, social and educational aspects of this important issue through discussions, workshops and conferences. A lively fringe programme of sport, culture and leisure activities will further help participants to establish worldwide contacts and connections. The fact that they will lodge with local host families will deepen these human exchanges.
I would like to thank and commend the City of Stuttgart for its dedication and efforts to making this worldwide youth encounter a reality.