Have you ever wondered what’s really on the minds of young people? Here’s your chance.

As IYF turns 20, we surveyed 20-year-olds around the globe participating in IYF-supported programs about what excites them, what concerns them, and what gives them hope. We asked them who their heroes are and what they’d like to tell their leaders. From Nairobi to Cairo, Bogotá to Bucharest, their responses paint a picture of what it’s like to grow up in a diverse, yet increasingly interconnected world.

What surprised us were how many young people—in the face of growing materialism—rated their family, friends, and skills as their most prized ‘possessions.’ Parents were often heralded as heroes by their children.

Environmental ills ranked high among youth concerns, along with how to increase access to education and jobs, satisfy growing energy demands, and promote equal opportunities for women. One of the greatest challenges facing today’s youth is being heard. “The leaders don’t listen to us,” says Mainuddin in Delhi.

Pooja, also from Delhi, agrees. “I wish my parents would try to understand and listen to me better.”

Where do today’s youth see the greatest hope for their futures?

Through making education more widely available, investing in technology and innovation, and strengthening community ties. “Knowing we have each other’s backs is what makes us unique,” says Emily Wanjiru of her community in Kenya. “We swim or drown together. When a neighbor’s house catches fire, we all put it out.”

Read the full article in YOUth magazine.