H.E. Zehra Zümrüt SELÇUK Highlights Importance of Social Responsibility and Volunteering at 2023 OIC Youth Day Closing Ceremony
Date: 05 September 2023
Venue: Ankara - Türkiye

An official closing ceremony of the 2023 OIC Youth Day was held at the Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Türkiye on 5 September 2023 in Ankara, to conclude the 3-day OIC Youth Day Program under the theme “Youth Volunteering and Societal Responsibility”.

The event was jointly organized by the Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Türkiye, the Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF), the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) and together with the Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC). It was attended by the Deputy Ministers of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Türkiye, the heads of the institutions, distinguished guests, the Ambassadors of OIC countries and successful young participants from the OIC regions.

During the ceremony, the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Türkiye, H.E. Dr. Safa KOÇOĞLU, highlighted the importance of nurturing a sense of social and humanitarian cooperation, as well as fundamental values, to create a just and virtuous society. She also emphasized the pleasure of the Ministry in collaborating with the relevant OIC institutions working in the domain of youth, namely ICYF and SESRIC, the OIC General Secretariat, as well as the YTB, and thanked them for their efforts in organizing the 2023 OIC Youth Day Program. Before concluding, she expressed the Ministry’s appreciation for hosting this significant event in Türkiye and congratulated the young participants for attending the three-day program.

H.E. Dr. Amina Obaid Dhan AL HAJRI, Director General of Culture, Social and Family Affairs at the OIC General Secretariat, emphasized the importance of youth day as it serves as a reminder of the remarkable demographic strength of our community and the opportunities it presents for sustainable development.

On her turn, H.E. Zehra Zümrüt SELÇUK began her speech by extending warm greetings to the youth of the Muslim world and the global community, emphasizing the significance of the occasion. She underscored the crucial role of youth in shaping the future of humanity. She thanked the Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Türkiye, the ICYF, YTB, and the OIC General Secretariat for their remarkable efforts in jointly organizing the event to celebrate the 2023 OIC Youth Day.

Highlighting the demographic landscape of OIC countries, she also pointed out that over 52% of the population in these nations is aged 24 or younger, compared to 41% globally. She emphasized the significant potential this youth demographic offers for sustainable development and called on the youth to play a vital role in establishing a more just, compassionate, peaceful, and sharing world.

She further shared historical examples of the Islamic civilization's regard for youth, illustrating how young individuals were entrusted with significant responsibilities. She also underlined the concepts of Mercy, Justice and Ummah, which are the essence of the Islamic civilization, deeply overlap with the idea of volunteerism and social responsibility.

Before concluding, she emphasized SESRIC’s commitment to youth development and socio-economic progress in OIC member countries. She stated that the Centre provides valuable resources, including youth statistics and reports, to inform evidence-based decision-making as well as capacity-building opportunities through its recently launched Emerging Talents Capacity Building Programme (SET-CAB). SESRIC also collaborates with ICYF on initiatives like the “Emerging Talents Capacity Building Programme (SET-CAB)”, supporting young professionals from OIC member countries.

The OIC Youth Day program highlighted a volunteering training organized by the partnering institutions, where youth participants from the OIC region delved into the conceptual framework of volunteering, explored the essence of volunteering, identified who can be a volunteer, explored various volunteering areas, and discussed the factors influencing volunteering.

The second day was marked by a series of enlightening visits. Participants had the privilege to visit SESRIC and received comprehensive presentations on “OIC and its relevant organs”, “Report of the State of Youth in the OIC Member States,” as well as the “Volunteering Activities by the ICYF”. The day continued with visits to the relevant national institutions in Ankara, including the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye, the Presidential Complex, the National Library, and the Turkish Red Crescent. The final day of the OIC Youth Day program was a culmination of learning and celebration. Participants explored the International Photography Contest Exhibition, themed “Volunteering”, showcasing the creativity and dedication of young minds. The event provided an opportunity for participants to reflect on the power of volunteering through the lens of art. Participants and organizers came together for a memorable family photo session, capturing the unity, determination, and shared commitment of all involved.

The OIC 2023 Youth Day programme came to a successful conclusion, highlighting the meaningful connections made during this remarkable event. Over the three days, the programme left a strong impact on the young participants, inspiring them to become valuable contributors to society. The programme's noble aim of educating young minds about social responsibility and volunteering encouraged the OIC youth to embrace these values.