University marks International Youth Day

The International Youth Day has been marked at the National University of Samoa [N.U.S.] with a two-day conference that will have discussions revolve around the theme “youth engagement for global action.”

The event, which is marked globally on August 12, is open to N.U.S. students and faculty staff as well as members of the Youth and Students for Peace [Y.S.P.] Samoa and not-for-profit Brown Girl Woke [B.G.W.].

The event at the campus will be hosted by a student-led group called the Peer to Peer Initiative Group.

The Peer to Peer Initiative Group President, Reupena Foliga, told the Samoa Observer in an interview that this is the fourth time the N.U.S. has marked International Youth Day with the first one launched in 2016 with the support of university lecturers Rosa Filoi and Tahere Siisiialafia.

He said he was surprised with the number of students who attended the event and is thankful to those for helping them mark the day.

"The main message that I want to encourage and inspire youth is to know their worth and to know their values of being a youth and to move out of their comfort zone and voice out their opinions," Mr. Foliga said.

"I know that in Samoa, in this type of society, it's very hard for us to come out of our comfort zones and voice out our opinions all because of so many influences from culture. 

"It really blocks us, it blocks the students from moving out and voice their opinions individually."

Mr. Foliga explained that the N.U.S. International Youth Day programme will be run over two-days with the event on Wednesday specifically focusing on presentations from the Y.S.P and the B.G.W.

"On Friday, hopefully we are going to have the Prime Minister come and deliver a speech to inspire students here in the National University of Samoa in order to become good leaders in the future," he added

For Y.S.P Samoa Vice President, Yongkwon Suafa, the International Youth Day would be an opportunity for youth to express their ideas, share their thoughts on what their role is as youth of the future, and how they can contribute to the development of global society as well as take global action. 

He explained that being part of the youth has a lot of responsibility but with a lot of freedom comes great responsibilities.

The international chapter of the Y.S.P. was established in 2017 with the goal of bringing young people together from different backgrounds and empowering them to become future leaders.

Mr. Suafa said they have two aspects, which is external [doing projects, hosting competitions and event programmes] and internal [character education].

"Character education is where we focus on cultivating the people, the youth to build their good character because we believe in Y.S.P that it's more important for youth to build their good character before building their intellect because there have been many smart and powerful people in history but they use their intellect and knowledge for the wrong things so we believe that the youth should be educated on their character first before becoming smart."

Mr. Foliga acknowledged the assistance of the N.U.S. Students Association which funded the event, the N.U.S. Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Business and Entrepreneurship, B.G.W., Y.S.P., and the university administration.

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