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Correspondence: Our generation can change the world
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Correspondence: Our generation can change the world

Say what you think, share your opinions, let your voices be heard. Don’t let fear stop you from telling the world how you feel, writes Paige Burton, a 16-year-old from Sydney, Australia.

After watching a speech given by 12-year-old Severn Cullis Suzuki of the Environmental Children’s Organisation at the United Nations almost ten years ago, I was inspired.

For those of you who haven’t watched the speech*, I highly recommend doing so. Suzuki speaks of the need to do something about the challenges the world must face. She calls upon the leaders present in the chamber to stand up and make a change, not for themselves but for their children and their children’s children.

Watching this speech highlighted the capabilities of young people in raising awareness about issues – regardless of how great or small. In the past year, I have become a member of the United Nations Youth Association (UNYA) a network of dynamic young people who are passionate about solving problems in their communities.

UNYA aims to educate young people about the increasing need for young leaders with a global perspective. The fundamental ideas of the United Nationw Youth Association are those that I feel should be shared with the youth of today, to: Educate. Express. Empower.

At the moment, we are in the middle of the International year of Youth. All young people have the right for their ideas to be heard and taken into account. Our age is irrelevant, our opinions are crucial.

We are the generation who will be affected most by the decisions of our leaders, it is we who will suffer the consequences or reap the rewards. We are the generation who have the potential to make change. But all too often don’t try.

Young people, speak up. Your time is now. Be inspired. Say what you think, share your opinions, let your voices be heard. Don’t let fear stop you from telling the world how you feel. Don’t figure out what other people want to hear from you, figure out what you want to say and make a difference. I

f you think it’s all too hard just remember the 12-year-old girl who silenced the world for 6 minutes.

*View Severn Suzuki’s speech here:



Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. All articles are published in a spirit of improving dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?



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