International Youth Day

Uploaded by USaidVideo on 10.08.2012

Hi, I'm Raj Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Today, as we celebrate International Youth Day, we have the opportunity to honor young
people everywhere and their contributions to the global progress and peace.
With vision and passion, youth serve as vital change-agents in their communities and their
countries. Today, more than half of the global population is under the age of 30. In order
to expand opportunity and unlock global progress, we have to partner with young people around
the world, harnessing their energy and creativity to solve some of the greatest challenges in
My favorite story here belongs to Gigi Ibrahim, one of the powerful, young citizen journalists
who wielded her blackberry as a weapon of revolution in the rise against President Mubarak
of Egypt. She tweeted locations of protests, security alerts, and notes to human rights
organizations about the latest arrests or violations.
Several months later, Jon Stewart had her on the Daily Show—and when he asked her
how she came to play a pivotal part in this movement, she explained to the rather surprised
audience that she had taken a class at the American University in Cairo called "Social
Mobilization Under Authoritarian Regimes" and concentrated on the role of social media
as an enabler.
I doubt that was an expected outcome when USAID funded the university for over 20 years,
proving that when we start empowering youth, we simply can’t predict what you can achieve
– or what we can accomplish together.
This fall, we will launch a Higher Education Solutions Network with universities and colleges
around the country to expand the pool of informed problem-solvers in our own country and provide
them the space to tackle the development challenges of our time.
I'll be coming to a number of colleges and universities in the next few months as part
of a campus tour—and I am eager to learn what partnership means to you. Tell me by
tweeting @USAID and @RajShah using hash-tag usaidyouth or commenting on USAID’s Facebook
Thanks, and have a great International Youth Day.