Even at 69, the United Nations identifies with the younger generation

Sculpture of gun with barrel tied in knot (AP Images)
This iconic anti-war sculpture decorates the plaza at U.N. headquarters. (©AP Images)

The United Nations fills the calendar with days to observe everything from progress on human rights to jazz greats.

But October 24 marks perhaps the U.N.’s most important day: the ratification of its charter in 1945.

In keeping with a U.N. Day tradition, this year’s commemoration will focus on a theme: Global Citizenship and Youth. The day is meant to encourage teenagers and young adults to meet global challenges.

Here are three ways, from among many, that young people are doing just that.

Children and teacher in schoolroom (AP Images)
Children attend school in Mingora, Swat Valley, Pakistan. (AP Images)

Education for all — Global citizenship without education is as unlikely as peace without understanding. A World at School’s global youth ambassadors, a legion of 500 students working in 85 countries, urge world leaders to give every child the chance to attend school. The ambassadors’ mission is inspired by the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education.

Students at long tables in large conference room (ITU Pictures)
Students at a Model U.N. conference in Geneva. (ITU Pictures)

Learning leadership — At Model U.N. events held all over the world, students role-play as delegates from various countries. To prepare, they research issues that they will later debate. They find solutions through compromise and coalitions. The experience often motivates students to pursue career paths that involve international relations, as one former Model U.N. participant explains in the Huffington Post.

Jazz Jennings and family posing for photos (AP Images)
Jazz Jennings and family arrive at the 2013 GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles. (AP Images)

Live your life, have an impact — The U.N.’s Free & Equal campaign creates a dialogue on LGBT rights that is helping young people respect each other, despite differences. The campaign strives for a world in which a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity does not limit that person’s opportunities in life. It is helping young people follow in the footsteps of LGBT activists such as Jazz Jennings, spotlighted on TIME magazine’s list of the world’s most influential teenagers.

President Obama said at the opening of the 2014 U.N. General Assembly: “Around the world, young people are moving forward hungry for a better world. Around the world, in small places, they’re overcoming hatred and bigotry and sectarianism.”

In its 69th year, the U.N. continues to motivate youth in positive ways.