Prime Minister Gillard officially opened the Commonwealth Youth Forum in Fremantle yesterday.
The Prime Minister delivered a welcome speech to the 130 youth delegates and distinguished guests.
In the speech Gillard urged delegates to have their voices heard ahead of this week’s CHOGM and to be idealistic, saying:
“At age 50, I am more idealistic than at any point in my life. Yes, more realistic about the means to get there and the constraints along the way. But no less idealistic about the brighter future that is within our grasp. So be idealists.”
The Prime Minister continued:
“Young people are our source of hope and inspiration for the challenges of tomorrow. The future of our world, as well as the future of the Commonwealth will be shaped by you. Looking around this room today, there is great cause for optimism about that future.”
Minister for Youth, Peter Garrett also presented a keynote address to delegates after the ceremony. His message emphasised the importance of youth in the Commonwealth:
“Young people are the future, literally, and no more so than in the Commonwealth of Nations where as we’ve heard half if not more of the population is aged 25 or under.”
“We recognise that youth in the Commonwealth countries are an emerging force for change. Your part in this forum gives you a very powerful voice….Take the opportunity the forum presents to make a clear statement in the communiqué focussed on those issues that are important to you as young people in the Commonwealth.”
Delegates will spend the next three days discussing key topic areas before presenting a communique to the Heads of Government.
Topics for discussion include:
- youth impact and participation in decision-making
- peace building and conflict management
- environmental sustainability
- youth enterprise, ICT, sustainable livelihoods and the economy
To find out more about the Commonwealth Youth Forum visit the official website.