A world full of young people

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Temps de lecture : 2 minutes  

 jeune Egyptien fait le signe de la victoire et brandit un morceau de pain en avril 2011 sur la place Tahrir au Caire, Egypte. © AFP PHOTO / STR

“Be realistic, demand the impossible”: the impetus of May 68 created by young people who were influenced by the hippie movement transformed traditional western society. Almost forty years later, young people have again created a wave of rebellion, but this time, in the East. In Tunisia and Egypt, two countries where almost half of the population is under 25, young people have shown that they can affect and breathe new life into society: « the Arab Spring ».

Almost half of the world’s population is under 25 and most of these young people live in developing countries. It may seem like a historic opportunity for change in the world. However, it takes more than youth. When such a large generation is faced with a lack of employment, education and prospects, it can lead to despair and become a hotbed for violence, and even terrorism. It all therefore depends on the roles society gives its youth and on the roles young people are able to play in society.

It is a social as well as an economic issue. In Tunisia and in Egypt, the governments have invested in education and more and more young people are being educated. However, those with qualifications have not been spared unemployment. On the other side of the world, in China, the number of graduates has increased sevenfold since 1999. The country has managed to give many young adults a job and turned them into unprecedented agents of economic development.

The dramatic increase in the number of young people is also an environmental issue. Young people today who are much more aware of environmental issues than their parents can change how they relate to the world and adopt more eco-friendly lifestyles. They will then be able to pass on a well-preserved planet to their children.

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