Youth Work Week provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of youth development workers and their positive and enduring impact on young people.
The youth work sector is made up of full-time practitioners and volunteers who work with young people. Youth workers are dedicated professionals, working tirelessly to guide and support adolescents and young adults, giving encouragement and helping to build skills.
Youth Work Week was first established by the UK's National Youth Agency two decades ago, and since 2012 the Commonwealth has worked to expand its reach and scope across its 53 member countries.
The theme for Youth Work Week 2015, from 2-8 November 2015, is ‘Youth Workers Creating Paths to Peace’, which acknowledges the role youth workers around the world play in fostering social cohesion, peace and security in society.
The Commonwealth Secretariat encourages youth clubs, national youth councils, youth ministries, departments, and national youth organisations, to get involved by hosting an event or activity for Youth Work Week.
Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Deodat Maharaj said: "Youth workers are staunch and tireless champions of young people, and go to great lengths to ensure that they are supported, engaged and empowered, and can thus effectively contribute to national development.
"This year’s theme demonstrates the relevance of youth work to the existing socio political realities of young people, and is reflective of emerging concerns of young people’s engagement with political extremism and violence," added Mr Maharaj.
First launched in 2013, the Commonwealth Youth Worker Awards celebrate the professionals and local heroes who play a pivotal role in the development of young people.
Nominations for the 2015 awards closed on 31 August 2015. Finalists will be shortlisted from four regional categories: Africa and Europe, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, and the Pacific. A winner will be selected from each region and invited to London for an awards ceremony during Youth Work Week.
Past awardees have worked with at-risk youth, in grassroots organisations, and even in senior levels of government and academia.
Commonwealth Youth Work Week - Muhammad Shahzad Khan talks to BBC World
Muhammad Shahzad Khan, the founding director of Chanan Development Association, a youth-led organisation which promotes peacebuilding and youth empowerment in Pakistan, speaks to BBC World TV on 3 November 2015 during Commonwealth Youth Work Week.
Muhammad Shahzad is a Finalist in the Commonwealth Youth Worker Awards 2015, to be announced on 5 November.
Message from Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Deodat Maharaj
Join the panel discussion on 'Policy imperatives for youth work in peace-building & social cohesion', which is taking place 5 November, 4.30-5.30pm, by tweeting your questions using #Commonwealth #Paths2Peace.
Join the conversation online: @CommonwealthSec @ComSecYouth #YWW15 #Commonwealth #YoungCommonwealth