– 12 August, International Youth Day –
Unemployment, insufficient participation of young people, lack of possibility for traveling, additional training and education – these are the parts of the statistical, media or social image of the intersection of young people’s problems in Serbia. Still, it is quite simple and even rough, superficial to say that the largest problem of young people is unemployment, and that young people are mostly selfish, uninterested and exclusively directed to social networks.
It is true that being young in Serbia today is difficult. And not only today. It is difficult, since you are coming from already established situation and now you need to fit in and find your place.
The place to which young people come consists of youth organisations and organisations for young people, pupil and student parliament, local youth offices, local and republic action plans, different mechanisms, ministries and local governments. Majority, if all, did not exist ten years ago. And, more precisely, in Novi Sad, a year ago, we did not have the Major’s Youth Council, city budget for young people was twice as low, we did not have a Youth Club (now there are three in Novi Sad), and we will not even talk about the culture and values within the youth sector and state at all. In the last two years, the improvement in the youth policy is visible and it is important to continuously work on that
for a long time.
And, we have reached all of that together – by youth civil sector working along with the decision-makers. Is that enough? Of course not. But, it is obvious that the movements have been made between the two International Youth Days.
At this point, there is the following serious obstacle – how to introduce youth policy to young people? How to encourage, motivate and inform young people to realise their rights, ideas and become active members of social community through existing problems. It is time for all those mechanisms we work on to be felt in the lives of young people. For everything that is being built, that is being created, to be present and tangible in everyday lives. And what is most important when it comes to young people – continuity.
That is one of the most important missions of OPENS in the next three years.
The effect OPENS and youth organisations have on the youth policy should be transferred to other segments of society and young people, led by the energy and success they have had in the field of youth policy can have a bit more influence on the employment policy, or health or economic policy.
The title of the European Youth Capital is not the title of the OPENS Team, but the city, organisations, institutions and citizens. And for us to use the change before us, it depends what will remain as the legacy of this title.
International Youth Day was established by the United National General Assembly in 1999. Every year, there is the theme for the campaign that is the backbone of the particular International Youth Day, and this year that is – SAFE SPACES FOR YOUTH.