Today, the United Nations Foundation named A.C. Milan soccer player Keisuke Honda as a Global Advocate for Youth.

The announcement was made at an event in Washington, D.C. honoring Honda for his philanthropic work focused on youth. In his role, Honda will focus on mobilizing action to address major challenges faced by young people around the world, and engaging youth in support of the vital work of the United Nations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

“Youth in every society have always been unique catalysts for change,” said Elizabeth Cousens, UN Foundation Deputy Chief Executive Officer. “They approach the future with an urgency and creativity we need to mobilize, and they understand the stakes. We are so excited to be working with Keisuke to help us build a new cadre of United Nations advocates and connect young people around the world in addressing some of the most important challenges of our time.”

As the global community works alongside the United Nations to implement the new Sustainable Development Goals, young people are key to successfully achieving the goals. Today’s youth generation is the largest in human history, with 1.2 billion aged 15-24 worldwide. During the timeframe the world works to achieve the global goals, that number will continue to grow, with nearly 2 billion more people projected to turn 15 years old by 2030. As Global Advocate for Youth, Honda will focus on mobilizing action to address some of the major challenges faced by young people globally— bringing awareness to the challenges that young people face and helping to ensure that the drive, ideas, and energy of young people are part of finding and implementing solutions.

“Soccer has given me the platform to reach and engage youth worldwide in a conversation that can help them shape their future. I am honored to be able to play my part in helping to tackle global issues and create a better world,” said Honda.

For the last decade Honda has dedicated his off season to holding global soccer camps and clinics for children in countries including Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, and the United States. He donated a soccer facility to the city of Ishinomaki, Japan, which was devastated by the Fukushima earthquake in 2011.

Today’s announcement was made in Washington, D.C. to a packed room that included young soccer players from around the area.

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