Youth hold the key to the future. We are living in a time where there are more young people in the world than there have ever been at any point in history. This can represent either a tremendous economic opportunity or a grave risk.
Young people are often hit the hardest by poverty and economic downturns. They have little voice in combating the issues that affect them the most. There can be substantial risks associated with a large population of young people who are experiencing such hardships. If nations fail to capitalize in this sector, they will be destined to a future with a poorly skilled, uneducated, and ultimately unemployable workforce.
Thus, countries must invest in their youth. In essence, how the world treats its youth can tip the balance towards either greatness or despair, as the economic stability of a nation depends on how well their young people transition into adulthood and into the labor force. The global youth population will inevitably continue to grow, and if young people have adequate access to education and health, economic prowess will follow.
Accordingly, I decided to organize my research into four sections: Challenges, Opportunities, Entrepreneurship, and Athletic Endeavors. The purpose of the first two sections is to understand the economic challenges and opportunities young people in the world are currently facing, such as underemployment in some cases or access to quality education in others, and thus explore the effects of these different circumstances.
The latter two sections, in turn, look specifically at what young people are actively doing to better their own economic situation and that of their communities. In the midst of economic downturns, entrepreneurship offers a means of taking many young people out of poverty and unemployment. And in an interconnected world, the ability for young entrepreneurs to thrive has never been greater. Moreover, youth athletic events and travel-teams are becoming increasingly common. Regional economies benefit greatly from hosting such events and from the resulting sports tourism.
Tapping into the power of youth requires governmental and private sector investment, and for youth themselves to take the initiative. As you explore these topics, I hope you come to view young people as vectors of innovation, economic growth and economic equity for all. Many of the vast problems that afflict the world and hinder progress can be solved through the actions of young people.
As the next generation of global leaders, it is essential that we as young people embrace every opportunity and strive to be actors of influence in the world. Our way of approaching the world cannot be limited to merely consuming it, but rather directing our passion to understanding it with depth and taking thoughtful action. The responsibility rests in our hands.
Elias Jinich, Francis Parker School
WorldLink 2015 Summer Intern