The 17th World Festival of Youth and Students came to a colourful end on 21 December last year when 15 000 youths and delegates
from more than 130 countries gathered at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. It was the first time in the 65-year history of the international youth conference that it was held in southern Africa, and that the conference had a specific focus on issues relevant to youth from the African continent.
The objective of the youth festival is to unite the youth of the world under the banner of promoting the universal principles of peace, freedom and social transformation.
The festival is organised every four years by the World Federation of Democratic Youth in one of its 153 member states.
With 18 500 delegates from more than 130 countries attending the festival, it was the largest turnout in the past 65 years.
“Young people have a responsibility towards the future; securing it now will ensure that our country and the rest of the world become a far better place than they currently are.”
– Collins Chabane, Minister in the Presidency
At the closing ceremony Minister Collins Chabane, Minister in the
Presidency, said discussions during the festival highlighted the different needs and challenges faced by young people from across the world, especially Africa.
The South African government had taken note of these, he said. “Through greater collaboration, and working through multilateral forums, government will ensure that policies are in place to address education, skills development, access to justice, the fight against xenophobia and other forms of oppression,” he said.
– Samona Murugan