The crucial role of young women and men in advancing intercultural dialogue and understanding is increasingly recognized within the global development agenda. Recent events in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in other regions of the world, clearly demonstrated that today’s large youth population, driven by a need for change, can shape social, economic, political and cultural life. In addition, the current economic crisis, as well as increases in migration, is changing the discourses on identity and integration.
Youthful demographics are calling for inclusive socio-economic growth based on a democratic and participatory government, as well as the rule of law, respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, including respect for cultural diversity. In sum, young people want to build societies based on equity, social justice, inclusion and a shared future. Although young people comprise the majority of the world population, there are very few channels for youth participation or concrete partnerships with youth to foster dialogue and transform it into global understanding.