In line with Cambodia’s 2022 chairmanship themed ‘ASEAN ACT: Addressing Challenges Together’, ASEAN declared 2022 as the Year of ASEAN Youth. Under the online campaign platform #ASEANyouth2022, the association invites young people and partners across the region to amplify messages on their leadership in community development throughout the year, the ASEAN Secretariat said.
At the handover ceremony of the ASEAN Chairmanship to Cambodia last year, Prime Minister Hun Sen said, “Cambodia will strengthen the development of human resources to respond to the needs on the ground for community building, promote the participation of women and youth in building and maintaining peace, and develop an inclusive social protection system. Another key priority is strengthening people-to-people bonds to enhance the spirit of One ASEAN Identity.”
The Year of ASEAN Youth will remain consistent with the post-2020 vision of ASEAN youth development, focussing on fostering 21st Century and digital skills and the institutionalisation of youth engagement mechanisms, guided by the soon-to-be-published ASEAN Work Plan on Youth 2021-2025. In the spirit of One ASEAN Identity, youth as the current and future leaders of the region will come together and participate in this initiative.
At least four flagship activities under the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Youth (SOMY) will contribute to the Year of ASEAN Youth 2022 – the 1st ASEAN Youth Dialogue funded by the Republic of Korea; the 6th ASEAN Youth Video Contest in collaboration with ASEAN Foundation and US PROSPECT; ASEAN Youth Photo Competition; and ASEAN Youth Debate 2022.
Through these events and other youth-led and partner-led initiatives, ASEAN seeks to provide more platforms for young people with various backgrounds and interests to unleash their potentials and play an active role in addressing current challenges.
Towards the end of the year and through a series of consultations with various stakeholders, ASEAN expects to adopt a leaders’ statement on the Year of ASEAN Youth at the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits in Cambodia.
ASEAN established SOMY in 2002 as a sectoral body consisting of national agencies responsible for youth development. The ASEAN Work Plan on Youth 2021-2025 encompasses five priority areas, which align with the domains of ASEAN Youth Development Index: education; health and well-being; employment and opportunity; participation and engagement; and ASEAN awareness, values and identity.