SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert addressed more than 1,700 multicultural youth on Wednesday morning at the Salt Palace Convention Center for the Multicultural Youth Leadership Summit.
MYLS Summit was created to support Governor Herbert’s “66 by 2020” education initiative, a goal to have 66 percent of Utahns hold a post-secondary degree or certificate by the year 2020.
“Statistics show that many of our state’s multicultural youth have below-average high school graduation rates and even less success in going on to college,” Herbert said in a press release. “I want to encourage these students to reach higher, because they are a big part of our future.”
Herbert spoke to the youth about the importance of education in the lives of multicultural students.
“You are the rising generation,” Herbert said. “It’s cool to be educated.”
The governor also named Mohsen Ghaffari the Utah Teacher of the Year.
Lt. Governor Spencer Cox also addressed the youth and spoke on facing challenges at school and at home.
“There are people that believe in you,” Cox said. “You need to believe in yourself.”
Cox also took a selfie with all the students in attendance and posted it to his Twitter account.
According to a press release, Utah’s ethnic population is growing three times faster than the Caucasian population. Minorities are expected to make up a majority of Utah’s population by 2050.
“Multicultural youth could very well be our future community leaders. We need to take steps to work together to engage, support and invest in them now,” said Utah Office of Multicultural Affairs Director Claudia Nakano in a press release.
This was the third annual conference for multicultural youth and students from 50 schools representing six countries attended.
Other speakers at the event included Nicholas Carlisle, a graduate of Oxford University and a human rights attorney, psychotherapist and executive director of No Bully. No Bully is a nonprofit based in San Francisco that partners with schools across to nation to implement solutions to end bullying.
“Overall, the focus of the summit was about respecting others, embracing diversity and taking pride in multicultural heritage,” said Geoffrey Fattah, the public informations officer at the Department of Heritage and Arts.