Shouldering The Dreams Of A Nation

By Jackson Henry —-

A Bishop once told his congregation, “On your shoulders, dear young people of the entire earth, weights the responsibility to transform tomorrow’s world into a society where peace, harmony and fraternity reign”. The Bishop’s captivating words highlights just how important it is to harness the power of youth here in Palau because the future of this nation lies in their hands. In our quest to build a vibrant economy, Palau’s youth is our greatest asset and the future pillars of our country.

With graduation season upon us, Palau witnesses a new generation of citizens who will shoulder the dreams of our founding fathers of making Palau an island nation that stands on its own, free, proud and on equal footings with other esteemed members of the world’s community of nations.

With several hundred youths obtaining their sheep skin this school year, parents, teachers and family members take pride in their accomplishments, knowing that they are now equipped with the tools to pursue further education or become productive citizens of Palau. We place high hopes on them in improving our living standards so we do not fall behind progress.

But in order to harness the power of today’s youth, it is critical that the older generations muster the courage to pass on the torch to the new generation so that they can direct their energies and knowledge toward productive ends. If we leave our youths at the margins of our society, we cut off our lifeline to the future.

This is contrarian thinking becausePalau’s culture has traditionally suppressed the youth from participating in big decisions or taking part in major village projects. In fact, the youth in ancientPalauwere not highly regarded primarily due to their perceived inexperience and lack of wisdom.

But times have changed. The youths ofPalautoday are probably the most intellectual and sophisticated group in their age bracket thatPalauhas seen in our 3,000 plus years of history. They are tech savvy, well traveled, educated and are in tuned with world’s current events and international media. It is only fitting thatPalauis one of the few nations that celebrates one holiday of the year as Youth Day.

Former UN Ambassador Kofi Annan once said, “Young people should be the forefront of global change and innovation. Empowered, they can be key agents for development and change”.

Palausees the power of youth driving global change. It was them who ignited the uprising that overthrew dictators inTunisia,Egypt,Libya,Yemenand now working inSyria.

Let us give our graduates the opportunity to illuminate the way to a prosperous future by allowing them more participation in our economic development and growth. With the youth being the majority ofPalau’s population, they have enough energy to set this country aglow.Palau’s dreams lies on the shoulders of our educated and motivated young people to drive this nation forward to a brighter future.

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