The World Assembly of Youth (WAY) is the international coordinating body of national youth councils and organisations. The full members of WAY are national youth councils. WAY has 120 member organisations from all continents.

Founded in 1949, WAY has general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and works in close cooperation with several UN agencies including UNAIDS, UNEP, ILO UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO.

WAY works for promotion of youth and youth organisations in programme areas such as: youth employment, environment, human rights, democracy, population, health, drugs, community development and leadership training.


In 1949, an initiative was undertaken to establish a youth organisation to promote global cooperation and understanding amongst the young people of the world. Recognizing the need for a universal youth organisation, youth leaders from national youth councils of all member countries of the United Nations were invited to attend an international conference in London . In August 1949, the international conference held at Westminster Hall in London established the World Assembly of Youth.

The draft charter, which had been prepared in February 1949 in Ashbridge , England , was ratified at the first official meeting of WAY in Brussels a year later. The meeting, organised by the Belgian Youth Council, was attended by more than 100 young people from 37 countries. The WAY Charter was ratified by 29 of the national youth councils present, and WAY began its work on behalf of the world youth community.

The WAY headquarters has moved throughout the years to various bases including Brussels , Paris , London and Copenhagen . In 1999, the WAY headquarters moved to Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia and now has finally established its headquarters building, the World Youth Complex, in Melaka, a southern state of Malaysia.


The World Assembly of Youth recognises the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the basis of its action and services. WAY promotes the work of youth organisations in areas such as: democracy, environment, human rights, population, health, drugs, community development, leadership training, and cultural and religious tolerance. It provides opportunities for youth representatives from different countries to exchange ideas and experiences, to coordinate program plans, and to reach a better understanding of each others’ problems due to differences in racial, religious and national backgrounds.

Since its formation, WAY has increased its membership of national youth councils to the present 93 full members, from as many countries from all continents. Furthermore WAY has 7 associated members and 22 organizations of observer status.

The regional structure of the National Youth Councils in all the continents, Asian Youth Council, European Youth Forum, Caribbean Youth Forum, Forum for the Integration of Adean Youth, Pacific Youth Council, Arab Youth Union, Pan-African Youth Union, African-Arab Youth Council, SADC Youth Movement, are consultative members.

As the international coordinating body of national youth councils, WAY has consultative status 1 with the United Nations system, the highest status possible for a non-governmental organization. WAY co-operates with the UN and many of its special agencies, particularly with UNESCO, the UNFPA and the WHO.

WAY’s funding is based on membership fees and other contributions from members. WAY’s different projects has been funded by various UN agencies, government aid agencies and private foundations.

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World Assembly of Youth (WAY)

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World Assembly of Youth World Youth Complex Jalan Lebuh Raya 75450 Melaka, MalaysiaAddress
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