When young people recognize the dignity and beauty of every human life, including their own, and are supported in their natural desire to make the world a better place, they become agents of justice and peace in the world, Pope Benedict said.
Peace and justice are built on "a profound respect for every human being and helping others to live a life consonant with this supreme dignity," the pope said in his message for the World Day of Peace 2012.
The Catholic Church celebrates World Peace Day Jan. 1.
The pope asked parents and teachers to be more attentive to the hopes and fears of young people today and to their search for true values.
He also asked governments to put more resources into education and job creation.
The pope asked young people themselves to take their schooling seriously and to be open to the example and knowledge their elders have to share.
Adults have a serious responsibility to help the young fulfill their potential by being examples of what it means to live lives marked by the joy of faith, charity and respect for others, he said.
"Today more than ever we need authentic witnesses, and not simply people who parcel out rules and facts: We need witnesses capable of seeing farther than others because their life is so much broader," the pope said.