Embassy of Sri Lanka Celebrates the United Nations World Youth Skills Day 2021
The Sri Lanka Embassy in Beijing celebrated the United Nations World Youth Skills Day 2021 at the Embassy on 15th July 2021. This event was designed to highlight the need to enhance marketable skills among youth and to motive our youth to engage in creative, innovative and technological skills development. The United Nations has declared this year’s theme as “Reimagining Youth Skills Post Pandemic”. Over 170 invitees, including representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, China International Development Corporation Agency, United Nations’ Organisations and Diplomatic Missions in Beijing, the Sri Lanka community, Chinese friends, the Chinese media and university students attended.
In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus, a resolution, spearheaded by Sri Lanka, declaring 15th July as the World Youth Skills Day. Sri Lanka initiated this resolution with the assistance of the G77 and China, to highlight at a global level, the importance of youth skills development. Achieving better socio-economic conditions for today’s youth, by addressing the challenges of unemployment and under employment, was our goal.
Ambassador, Dr. Palitha Kohona delivered the key note speech and said that even though the literacy was being achieved rapidly, many youths could not be gainfully employed, as they lacked the skills required by contemporary society. He further said that the lack of skills lead our youth to desperation and hopelessness. We need a global effort to improve the marketable skills of our youth so their contribution to society will be meaningful and so that they would plot a better future, especially during and after the pandemic.
Hon. Namal Rajapaksa, MP, Ministry of Youth and Sports and Hon. Tharaka Balasuriya, MP, State Minister for Regional Co-Operation and Ms. Jayathma Wickramanakaye, the United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth delivered pre-recorded video messages. Hon. Rajapaksa said that the youth of today have adapted to the new normal in their day to day life. While striving to create new job opportunities, promote new industries, we must pay attention to nurturing entrepreneurship and training to impart business and management skills, he added. Hon. Balasuriya said that restricted mobility and limited interpersonal interactions due to the pandemic have badly affected society, in particular, young people, and it is essential to develop soft skills in them with the use of technology, creating a virtual space to promote youth skills.
Ms. Wickramanakaye while recalling Sri Lanka’s efforts in 2014 to have the United Nations declare 15th July as the World Youth Skills Day, said that it is important to include young people in policy making processes at the local, national and global levels. She further said that investing in young peoples’ education and skills is the smartest way that any country can do to secure a better future for all.
Two successful young Sri Lanka businessmen, Mr. Biman Liyanage and Mr. Chiranjaya Udumullage shared their experiences in living and working in China at the event.
The event was enhanced by several world class dancing and music items by young Chinese performers and concluded with all guests being treated to a grand banquet hosted by Chinese friends.
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