Minister for Youth and Sports Honourable Parveen Bala this morning opened the 2019 National Youth and Sports Conference at the University of The South Pacific’s Laucala campus in Suva.
Addressing more than 400 youths from around the country, the Ministers told participants that Government recognises that young people will take over key leadership positions in the not too distant future and one of the main objective of the conference is to listen to the youth’s contribution as key stakeholders.
Themed ‘Empowering Youths to be Agents of Change and Promoting Sports for Development’ the conference is part of Governments initiative to bring together outstanding youths around the country to build leadership skills, discuss critical youth issues and challenges facing young people today through dialogue, having an open mind, integration and collaboration.
“The theme carries with it the underlying message that this Government believes in our young people and their ability to contribute positively to our nation. On record Fiji has a young population hence this Government views youths as agents of change,” Hon. Bala told participants.
“Government is committed to the development of young Fijians and by listening to young people, we will be able to progress changes in policies, review youth development and sports programs and offerings relevant to contemporary youth developments in rural, urban and per-urban areas,” he said.
“Change is inevitable. To progress we must change. We must change our mindset, change our attitude, change our approach and re-align our focus on major issues affecting our community and our country,” he adds. “Let us use this youth conference to promote dialogue and understanding across cultures and generations and to advance our common interest for all young people in building a prosperous Fiji.”
Further challenging the youths Hon. Bala encouraged participants to use the conference as a platform to address critical issues that hinders the progress of young Fijians today. Issues such as teenage pregnancies, suicide, sexual assaults; physical and cyber bullying, sexual harassment, unemployment and mental health.
“As young people in this fast developing world, you face a lot challenges. Challenges that must be met! I can assure you that this Government supports you and is committed to eradicate all forms and challenges. But you must play your part and therefore we must work together to achieve our goal,” he said.
The three day conference will end Thursday with participants with a clean-up campaign along the Nasese Seawall and mangrove planting.