“They still feel they are excluded, from the decisions that are affecting their lives,” said Miroslav Lajčák, adding that “we want this to be an event when we take a step back, and we listen to young people, talking to each other.”
Quite often, he said, “they have a feeling that when they speak, no one is listening”.
He added that the themes he was keen to hear their views on were education, jobs, and the complex issue of how young people could be dissuaded from taking a path towards violent extremism. “We talk about it, but we still don’t really get it – don’t really grasp it,” he said.
Other speakers included an athelete from the Pacific island nation of Tonga, who won world reknown, when he marched shirtless into the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, carrying his country’s flag.
“The world does not need violence, does not need bombs, the world needs today’s youth to become superheroes,” said Pita Taufatofua.
At the UN, wearing a shirt, he said his brother advised him to “keep your shirt on and leave the oil at home”.
The second piece of advice from his brother was, “tell your truth, leave the youth with something they can take into the future,” Mr. Taufatofua said.