Hundreds of young leaders from around the globe will gather at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa for the World Youth Congress June 24–July 1, 2017. The delegates will address many of the issues discussed at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress. The 2017 congress is being hosted by the Student Sustainability Coalition of Hawaiʻi, a UH student organization, and Peace Child International Hawaiʻi.

“Youth voices play an important role in international dialogue not only to introduce fresh ideas today, but also to empower the stewards of tomorrow to sustain future conversations,” said Jessica Sevilla, a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Sustainability Fellow.

Hawaiʻi is thrilled to host the 2017 World Youth Congress (WYC), particularly after being the host for the first WYC in 1999,” said Jessica Worchel, board chair of Peace Child International Hawaiʻi. “Youth across the globe are actively engaged in exploring how communities are tackling international challenges by reconnecting to indigenous wisdom and identifying contemporary solutions and Hawaiʻi is an ideal location to demonstrate how the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals can be owned and advanced at local levels. We also look forward to welcoming back the Hōkūleʻa and celebrating a new generation of youth voices”

international group of people

The first World Youth Congress in 1999 was held in Hawaiʻi.

Inspired by the Worldwide Voyage of Hōkūleʻa and its global call to Mālama Honua, international delegates attending the 2017 World Youth Congress will explore the theme “Reconnecting to our Ancestral Roots to build Sustainable Communities” and work on the following questions:

  • How do we repair, restore and regenerate our natural environment?
  • What kind of livelihoods do we want to create to ensure that our communities and planet thrive?
  • How can young leaders engage with and influence global decision makers?
  • How can young leaders contextualize the United Nations Sustainable?
  • Development Goals and work with member states to achieve them by 2030?

“We are kind of a microcosm of the world,” said Student Sustainability Coalition of Hawaiʻi member and Kapiʻolani CC student Jeff Kim. “If we can make sustainability work here, we know that there’s a lot of hope for the rest of the world as a whole.”

“The 2017 World Youth Congress reinforces next generation leadership on the Aloha+ Challenge, Hawaiʻi’s statewide sustainability initiative to achieve the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at a local level,” said Celeste Connors, executive director of Hawaiʻi Green Growth. “This is an extremely exciting opportunity for Hawaiʻi’s youth, especially as it will be timed with return of Hōkūleʻa from the Worldwide Voyage and the launch of the Aloha+ Green Workforce and Education 2030 goal.”

The World Youth Congress series began as the Millennium Young People’s Congress in Hawaiʻi in 1999 under the chairmanship of Senator Daniel K. Inouye and leadership of State Senator Suzanne Chun-Oakland, Mae Mendelson and Joanne Tachibana of the United Nations Association-Hawaiʻi.

For more information on the World Youth Congress including how to apply or volunteer, email hawaii@peacechild.org.

group of people on stage

Members of UH’s Student Sustainability Coalition of Hawaiʻi signed a memorandum of understanding with Peace Child International Hawaiʻi to host the 2017 World Youth Congress.