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Sunday, 10 November 2013





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Commonwealth Youth Forum:

Opportunity for international youth integration

The Magampura Ruhunu International Convention Centre
Pic: Sudath Malaweera

The ninth Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF) which begins today at Magampura Ruhunu International Convention Centre (MRICC) will conclude on November 14. Various problems faced by the youth worldwide will be discussed indepth during the forum.

There are so many problems, the youth face today and the forum will be a gateway to identify them and address them immediately. The youth must be prepared to face contemporary challenges. Today's youth are the leaders of tomorrow. They have a major role to play for the sake of the country and society. The youth are the invaluable resource for the country's development. The Government under the Mahinda Chinthana national development program will take every effort to improve the skills of youth and to make them a valuable resource for development. Without solving the problems of youth nothing can be achieved.

Several events have been organised from November 10 to 14. Registration of invitees will start at 8.30 a.m. Following the national anthem of Sri Lanka a traditional dancing item will be staged. Youth Affairs and Skills Development Minister Dullas Alahapperuma will make the welcome address. President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma will address the inaugural ceremony.

A view of the Ranminithenna telefilm village.

A group of differently abled people will also perform on the stage in the inaugural day and events will conclude with the vote of thanks by YLTF Member Aruthra Rajasingham.

On the second day of CYF recap and introduction of thematic groups will be held and the thematic groups will be divided into four groups. On the third day of the forum two capacity building sessions will be held. Regional youth meetings have also been organised. Five regional groups will participate in the regional meetings. An election will also be held to select the executive committee members of Commonwealth Youth Council. The results will also be released on the same day.

On November 13 policy debates will be held followed by several community services in the field that include visit to elephant transit home, Udawalawa, Bird Sanctuary Bundala, beach cleaning in Hambantota and community projects by the youth in and around Hambantota, according to the Chairman of National Youth Services Council Lalith Piyum Perera.

On the last day of CYF the youth will participate in the Diabetics walk from the Saltern in Hambantota to the Beach park, he said.

More than 100 youth from Commonwealth countries who arrived in Hambantota have been provided accommodation in Hambantota Peacock Beach Hotel. Last night the local and foreign youth were provided a dinner at the Ranminithenna telefilm village, National Youth Services Council sources said.

Hambantota Assistant Government Agent Y.K. Shiromi Jeewamala described the CYF as a rare opportunity for youth in the region and across the country to learn lot of things such as how to organise an international event, how to associate with foreigners and exchange the cultural and traditional values with one another. The CYF will provide a platform for youth to expose their innovative ideas to the world. On the concluding day 5,000 youth from all parts of the country including the North and the East will gather at the open auditorium of the Convention Centre

The Bundala Bird Sanctuary.

The Udawalawa National Park.

After the CYF there are opportunities to promote the tourism industry in Hambantota. The Mattala Airport will also receive enough publicity because foreign delegates will arrive in Hambantota and leave Hambantota via the Mattala Airport, she said.

Five innovative youth from Sri Lanka and five who represent Commonwealth countries will chair the CYF. They have held several meetings so far.

Foreign youth delegation have been provided accommodation at the Hambantota Peacock Beach Hotel and local delegation at Kataragama National Holiday Resort. Nearly 1,500 youth between 15 and 29 years who represent Hambantota, Embilipitiya, Moneragala, Matara and Ratnapura will participate at the inaugural ceremony today.

An International Youth-led Task force has been appointed by Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development Minister Dullas Alahapperuma to ensure the agenda is relevant and reflects the concerns of young people. Discussions at the forum will include reconciliation and social cohesion, youth in the Post-2015 development agenda, education, youth employment, gender equality, sexual health and rights, well-being and growth, and professionalisation of youth work.

The advent of modern technology has a positive and negative impact on youth. Steps should be taken to safeguard the youth from devastation. Personality-building is very important concept of CYF and such forum will be helpful to overcome the problems the youth face today.

If youth were not led on the correct path then they would get involved in anti-social activities. Violence against the youth should be stopped. Youth in other countries should join hands to face challenges.

Unemployment in the developing countries is comparatively high. The youth should be made aware of community diseases such as AIDS. The unemployment problem among youth must be addressed.

A large number of children die due to malnutrition every year. The youth in Commonwealth Countries should join hands to help the underprivileged. International fora such as CYF should propose ideas to solve the problems faced by youth today.

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