Study zooms in on health of youth

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICA - By CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton

sixth among the 30 coun­tries. Aus­tralia ranked first, fol­lowed by Swe­den, South Korea, the United King­dom and Ger­many.

China’s rank­ing came be­fore Brazil and Mex­ico, which rank 15th and 16th re­spec­tively, but be­hind the de­vel­op­ing na­tions of Thai­land, Viet­nam, Peru and Colom­bia, which ranked from 10th to 13th.

Angga Dwi Martha, an In­done­sia youth ad­vo­cate for the United Na­tions Pop­u­la­tion Fund, said the in­dex points out a very gen­eral set of prob­lems.

“As young people, we can say to our govern­ment, and sec­tor like pub­lic sec­tor or civil so­ci­ety or other sec­tors that these are our prob­lems,” he said at the in­dex launch cer­e­mony held on Thurs­day at CSIS.

The in­dex was cre­ated by a group of ex­perts from CSIS and the In­ter­na­tional Youth Foun­da­tion, with fi­nan­cial sup­port from Hil­ton World­wide, a global com­pany with ho­tels and re­sorts.

Among the main find­ings of the study, a large ma­jor­ity of the world’s youth is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing lower lev­els of well­be­ing, and even when young people are do­ing rel­a­tively well, they still face chal­lenges and lim­i­ta­tions.

Across coun­tries, aver­age do­main scores in­di­cate youth are far­ing strong­est in health and weak­est in eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity, said the study.

Of the 30 coun­tries, China, which was put in the up­per mid­dle-in­come coun­try cat­e­gory ac­cord­ing to the World Bank, placed 28th in cit­i­zen par­tic­i­pa­tion, 10th in eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity, 22nd in ed­u­ca­tion, 11th in health, 15th in in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy and 14th in safety and se­cu­rity.

China’s to­tal num­ber of youth aged 10 to 24 stands at 299 mil­lion, about 22 per­cent of its to­tal pop­u­la­tion. Glob­ally, people aged 10 to 24 are es­ti­mated at 1.8 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the study.

China’s youth re­port their great­est op­ti­mism and sat­is­fac­tion in eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity and safety and se­cu­rity, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

In the eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity do­main, China scored above the in­dex aver­age in youths’ in­come and wealth ex­pec­ta­tions, eco­nomic cli­mate and com­pet­i­tive­ness, youth in­volved in early stage en­tre­pre­neur­ial ac­tiv­ity but be­low the aver­age in GDP per capita and youth un­em­ploy­ment.

In the cit­i­zen par­tic­i­pa­tion do­main, China scored above the in­dex aver­age only in can­di­dacy of age for na­tional of­fice and youths’ per­cep­tion of value in so­ci­ety, while were be­low the in­dex aver­age in the econ­omy democ­racy in­dex, ex­is­tence of youth pol­icy, vol­un­teer fre­quency and youths’ feel­ing served by govern­ment.

Christo­pher Nas­setta, pres­i­dent and CEO of Hil­ton World­wide, said the in­dex will cre­ate a di­a­logue to get civil so­ci­eties, gov­ern­ments and businesses to work to­gether to fig­ure out longterm an­swers for the youth.

He ex­pects the data will help businesses make in­vest­ment de­ci­sions. “What kind of cap­i­tal re­sources, what kind of hu­man re­sources do we need to al­lo­cate, how do we do it to max­i­mize the op­por­tu­ni­ties for suc­cess? Hope­fully this data will help make such judg­ment,” he said.

Kathleen Hicks, se­nior vi­cepres­i­dent at the CSIS, said an in­dex like the well­be­ing one isn’t go­ing to solve prob­lems but can re­ally illuminate is­sues.

The study made sev­eral rec­om­men­da­tions that in­clude ad­vanc­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion by youths, pro­mot­ing deeper and more tar­geted re­search and anal­y­sis and con­sid­er­ing in­te­grated poli­cies and pro­grams.

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Di­rec­tors Ang Lee (right) and Zhang Yi­mou speak­ing at an event held at Cooper Union in New York. The event is pre­sented by LeTV and New York Univer­sity’s Tisch School of the Arts. The two di­rec­tors dis­cussed the Chi­nese cin­ema land­scape as well as their ex­pe­ri­ences as film­mak­ers.


From left: Kathleen Hicks, se­nior vice-pres­i­dent of Cen­ter for Strate­gic and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies (CSIS); Wil­liam Reese, pres­i­dent and CEO of In­ter­na­tional Youth Foun­da­tion; Christo­pher Nas­setta, pres­i­dent and CEO of Hil­ton World­wide and Alyona Minkovski of Huff­Post Live, at a meet­ing at CSIS on Thurs­day to launch the Global Youth Well­be­ing In­dex.

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