International Youth Day: young people show they care about education

Young peope are at the heart of everything we do at A World at School. We are striving to get every child in the world into school – and our Global Youth Ambassadors are taking that message to schools, communities and politicians.

Our youth-led campaign – the #UpForSchool Petition – has seen more than eight million people signing and calling on world leaders to give every girl and boy an education. That means overcoming the barriers that prevent children going to school – including child labour, child marriage, conflicts and attacks on schools, discrimination and exploitation.

Today is International Youth Day – and the focus this year is on civic engagement. Here we look at some of the numbers behind youth engagement on global education and what people are saying about International Youth Day. Don’t miss a blog by A World at School’s Madeline Serena on how young people have the power to change millions of lives. And Baela Raza Jamil, Director Programmes at ITA in Pakistan, writes about the amazing succes of the country’s Education Youth Ambassadors.

Gordon Brown, the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, said in a statement today: “Today’s events mark a new development in thriving youth activism. Today 30 million young people are officially displaced persons, exiled from their homes in their own countries. Around 10 million have become refugees, forced to seek shelter in countries far from their home and their families.

“There are currently 5.5 million children who have been affected by the Syrian conflict, most of whom enjoyed education before the civil war. Most now go without any school or education. It is a tragedy of epic proportions yet amidst the pain and the suffering there is still aspiration, a desire for life and for knowledge and for opportunity.

“And with a focus on the direct engagement of young people in fighting for their rights, we should be proud to highlight the fact that nothing less than a civil rights struggle is underway, led by young people and their endless energy.”

Mr Brown has also written an International Youth Day blog for World Post. You can read it here.


People expected to take part in events around the world today. See what’s happening and where on a United Nations map.


Global Youth Ambassadors spreading the A World at School message in more than 85 countries. Read some of their inspirational stories here. And you can also read our news stories about their amazing work.

One million

Signatures collected by GYAs for the #UpForSchool Petition. Find out how they did it.


That’s how many of our Global Youth Ambassadors travelled to London in June to receive their Queen’s Young Leaders Awards at Buckingham Palace. Full story here.

Town hall rally

This special event will be held in New York on September 28 – during the United Nations General Assembly – and will be addressed by youth leaders standing alongside campaigner Graca Machel to highlight their demands for support.

#YouthDay on Twitter


The Office of the United Nations Youth Envoy, Ahmad Alhendawi, is having an International Youth Day Digital Surge – from 9am to 3pm Eastern Standard Time (US). Find out what’s on the schedule and how you can take part. 

And here’s a flavour of how International Youth Day is being marked on Twitter.

A great pearl of wisdom

About more than basic education

Celebrating young people’s work

Helping girls to stay safe

Education helps health