Ashoka Marks International Youth Day 2016


On 17 December 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.

Ashoka Innovators for the Public, which supports the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs, recently launched a six-month global campaign, with the theme: “Great Change Makers Start in Their Youth.”

The campaign debuted on August 12, 2016 in honor of the International Youth Day and also featured leading change makers – youth, Ashoka fellows, as well as CEO’S and others who began their journey as social or business entrepreneurs during their teen years.

According to two internal surveys, the majority of Ashoka’s leading social entrepreneur fellows had their first change-making experience before age 20.  This pattern of early achievement also holds for the business sector.

A recent study based on LinkedIn data for all professionals (400 million or 66% of total professionals) also mirrors that of Ashok’s; the study found that those who signaled they started something noteworthy in their teens are 4 times more likely to be entrepreneurs and 4 times more likely to be top corporate (C-level) executives.

According to Bill Drayton, founder and CEO of Ashoka, “We are all in a new game – one where change begets and multiplies change. The old game, which sought efficiency in repetition (think professional firm and assembly line) and was characterized by walls and rules, is dying—awkwardly and painfully…Everyone needs to be a change-maker.

The theme of the 2016 International Youth Day is “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production”. This year’s Day was about achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, focusing on the leading role of young people in ensuring poverty eradication and achieving sustainable development through sustainable consumption and production.

To see highlights of stories and videos of great change-makers, visit:




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