K-pop group BTS are inspiring youth at the United Nations

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At the United Nations General Assembly this week, the wildly popular band BTS became the first K-pop group to give a speech at the U.N. The seven-member boy band – which includes members Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, RM, V and Jungkook – spoke on the issue of global youth empowerment and at the launch of Unicef’s Generation Unlimited program.

Kim Nam-joon, better known by his stagename RM, gave a speech in English about the importance of encouraging youth to pursue their dreams.

“Even after making the decision to join BTS, there were a lot of hurdles. Some people might not believe but, most people thought we were hopeless, and sometimes I just wanted to quit,” Kim said, “I was very lucky that I didn’t give it all up.”

“We have learned to love ourselves, so now I urge you to ‘speak yourself,'” Kim concluded, “No matter who you are, where you’re from, your skin color, gender identity: speak yourself.”

The band also performed at the event which was attended by several world leaders and the U.N. Secretary General.

The Generation Unlimited program is a new initiative that will seek to “get every young person prepared for future employment by 2030” by offering and facilitating focused education, job skills training and creating employment opportunities for youth. It is part of the Youth 2030 strategy launched at this year’s General Assembly which “recognizes young people’s agency, resilience and their positive contributions as agents of change” in an effort to empower youth to achieve their full potential.

The band also spoke about their Love Yourself album and the corresponding campaign which has raised more than $1.3 million CAD to support foundations against violence toward children and teens around the world with a strong emphasis on the unifying power of music.

According to CBS, BTS was invited because the programs require young people in order to reach their goals in the future.

“The development goals are set to be completed in 2030 and most Heads of State coming to the General Assembly are 60-plus years old,” a senior diplomat reportedly said, “We need the next generation to follow through.”