CAIRO: The World Youth Forum began on Monday in Egypt with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi launching the event in the resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh.
The forum, which continues until Jan. 13, will play host to a number of presidents, rulers and heads of government.
It serves as an international platform for influential young people from more than 190 countries around the world.
The slogan for this year’s event is “Back Together.”
Held in 2017, 2018 and 2019, the event drew more than 15,000 young men and women from 160 countries over three earlier editions.
Before the launch of this year’s event, El-Sisi received Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Jordan’s Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II and Lebanon Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
“We are launching the fourth edition of the World Youth Forum, which has become a platform for dialogue and communication between young people, and a tool for exchanging visions between all the world, especially at this defining moment in human history,” El-Sisi said during the opening.
He added that humanity has “no way to overcome its challenges” except through “sincerity of intentions, the ending of conflicts, managing differences and joint action.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in a speech addressing the World Youth Forum, said that the mental health crisis stemming from the pandemic has “greatly affected young people,” but that youth around the world are demanding equality, peace and justice.
“Young people have provided ideas and solutions that help local communities to rebuild and emerge from the pandemic in a stronger state,” Guterres added.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, president of the World Health Organization, said during a recorded speech at the opening of the forum that “most of the world’s population consists of young people under the age of 30.”
He added: “The future is in their hands, and before them are the challenges of today and tomorrow, including climate change, pollution, health and others.
“Although young people have not been affected much by the pandemic, there are sectors that have been affected, such as health, education and jobs, and therefore we have to make 2022 the year of eliminating the pandemic, directing growth and progress, achieving sustainable development goals and building young people so that they have a pivotal role in building communities.”
The forum aims to promote youth dialogue and send a message of peace and prosperity from Egypt to the world.
The UN Commission for Social Development announced the agenda for the forum’s fourth edition, which will cover the new reality of life after the pandemic, as well as peace, creativity and development issues.
The future of energy, sustainable water security, women’s empowerment, global peace and security, and the reconstruction of post-conflict areas will also be under discussion at the forum.
More than 500,000 people applied to take part in the event, with African youth making up the majority of applications. It was followed by Europe, Asia, North America and South America.