The first ever world conference on youth kicked off on May 6 and will continue until May 10 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The conference aims to produce a joint interstate outcome document under the “Colombo action plan” to make youth an integral part of development in line with the UN’s post-2015 development agenda.
Almost 169 countries are sending speakers, delegates and youth in the conference to discuss themes such as gender equality, cultural exchange and other pressing concerns at the Magam Ruhunupura International Conference Center (MRICC).
A delegation from Saudi Arabia participated in this conference, while the Saudi “Call of Culture” organization also took part on the sidelines of the forum.
The conference brings together 1,500 participants, half of whom are youth with 150 of them coming from marginalized backgrounds, making the conference one of the most well represented youth events at the global level.
The pre-conference procession was led by an independent international youth task force, which represents major global youth organizations and regional platforms, ensuring regional and gender balance.
Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa, chief guest at the ceremony, said that there would be around three billion young people in the world by 2015.
“It is imperative that a global strategy is developed to mainstream youth focus and ensure their participation in existing and future development programs at the national, regional and global levels,” President Rajapaksa said.
He expressed confidence that such a conference would provide an inspirational platform for such deliberations.
Mohammad Bakhriba, founder of “Call of Culture,” told Arab News that their organization’s main mission is to bridge cultural gaps by facilitating intercultural exchange.
“We also try to promote social entrepreneurship while visiting universities,” he said.
“Through our participation in the forum, we will shed light on music, art, entrepreneurship and other creative domains to enhance reconciliation and the use of social media in bridging cultural divides,” he said.
“The forum contains speakers from different parts of the world to maximize discussions on social innovation,” he said.
“We took on the initiative of trying to link universities from Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and other Asian nations to acquaint students with other cultures.”