This summer Croke Park and the GAA are delighted to host an unprecedented youth development event as we join with the UNESCO Chair in Community, Leadership and Youth Development at Penn State to launch an important movement focusing on youth development through sport.
According to the United Nations, 50% of the world population is age 25 or younger, with 85% of all youth living in less developed countries. These figures describe an environment in which the active engagement of youth is essential to international security, stability, regional capacity building, and many development outcomes. However, engaging youth requires innovative strategies such as initiating youth leadership through the mechanism of sports and recreation.
(left to right in the above photo, Pat Dolan, NUIG; Alan Smith, University of Ulster; Mark Brennan, PSU)
To complement the Croke Park Classic, a major symposium entitled The UNESCO Symposium on Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership through Sport and Recreation will be held in Croke Park on Thursday August 28. This will highlight and advance international youth development. The symposium represents the scholarly commitment of Penn State and its partners in UNESCO, Ireland and Northern Ireland to advancing international youth development programs and policy.
This symposium will bring together experts, practitioners, members of development organizations, UNESCO goodwill ambassadors and youth leaders to create innovative solutions to issues that directly impact youth and their communities. The symposium will develop a series of key policy directions and a major formal UN declaration on utilizing sports and recreation as mechanisms for youth development worldwide. This declaration will be presented to the UN, UNESCO, and UNICEF as a platform for them to build global programming and policy.
The Symposium will result in the Croke Park Declaration on Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership, significant policy initiatives, major visibility with attending UNESCO Celebrity Goodwill Ambassadors, and attendance by leading political representatives.
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