The Year of Youth
The year 1985 was declared the International Youth Year by the United Nations with three central themes of participation, development, and peace. It was held in order to bring attention to issues concerning and affecting youth around the world. Activities coordinated by the Youth Secretariat of the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs took place across the globe and included the International Youth Conference and World Youth Festival in Jamaica, the Friendly Gathering of Youth in Beijing, the 12th World Festival of Youths and Students in Moscow, and the International Youth Year Conference on Law in Montreal. Keith Haring's colorful, joyous, widely appealing imagery was a perfect fit for this unique, global celebration.
The IYY was proclaimed in America by President Ronald Reagan, who praised its youth and their importance for a brighter future:
“In 1985 the United States joins the celebration of United Nations' International Youth Year. If we are to honor the potential of America's youth, we must remember that the most powerful force for progress comes not from governments or public programs, but from the vital traditions of a free people. Parents, youth organizations, and teachers deserve our support, encouragement, and thanks for the indispensable role they play in fostering and strengthening these traditions.”