The 2014 State of the World Population Report from the United Nations Population Fund says there are 1.8 billion young Asian people, aged 10 to 34.
India has the biggest share with 356 million, followed by China with 269 million, Indonesia with 67 million, Pakistan with 59 million, and Bangladesh with 48 million.
During his homily at the concluding Mass of the 6th Asian Youth Day, in Aug 2014, Pope Francis told those young people gathered in Seoul, South Korea “to be like Christ, who responds to every plea for his help with love, mercy and compassion.”
The pontiff said young people were the present and the future of the church.
Asia’s youth is not only the hope of the church and society in the future, but also of the present. Their creativity, openness to change, and welcoming attitude toward multiplicity of religious faith and cultural diversity are among their strengths.
The giftedness and energy of the young, if properly guided and channeled, can be a tremendous source of healing in a continent that is divided by economic disparity among the rich and the poor, internal political strife and rebellion of insurgent groups against their respective governments.
Conflicts in many parts of Asia are sometimes blamed on religious and cultural differences. Solidarity among young people based on common humanity irrespective of religion, culture and social status can be a contributing force that will usher in unity among Asians. [More]