UN International Youth Day Event
The United Nations (UN), in partnership with the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation (FAF), hosted an open event in New York to observe International Youth Day on August 13, 2019. Young people gathered from across the country and globe, including representatives from Youth and Students for Peace (YSP) and Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU).
Dr. Andrew McDonald, Executive Director of FAF, and Jeff Brez, Chief of the Civil Society and Outreach Division of the UN Department of Global Communications, kicked off the program with a few opening remarks. The event included a discussion on “Youth for Inclusive and Sustainable Communities,” where panelists covered topics such as education for displaced children, climate change and sustainable technology. The panel was moderated by Jadayah Spencer, Co-Chair of the Youth Representatives Steering Committee for the UN Department of Global Communications, and included Kehkashan Basu, Founder of Green Hope Foundation; Mark Chambers, Director of NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability; Simon Sylvester-Chaudhuri, Executive Director of CIV:LAB; Soraya Fouladi, Founder of Jara; and 14-year-old Alexandria Villasenor, Founder of Earth Uprising. Each panelist emphasized that social problems cannot be solved by governments or laws: solutions must be initiated by civil society. Participants then asked the panelists questions regarding issues their own communities face and ways young people can get more involved with the UN and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Next, distinguished youth from multiple countries, including a seven-year-old from Bangladesh, spoke on a variety of topics. The concluding address was made by Satya Tripathi, the UN Assistant Secretary-General and Head of New York Office UN Environment Programme (UNEP). He shared about climate change, which was a key point of discussion throughout the day.
The impacts of climate change is not very well known among the general public, but it affects millions of people who are displaced from their homes, the environment and economy and is one of the major global issues the UN is trying to address.
Following the event, the YSP and FFWPU members who attended shared their experiences. They talked about how the teachings of family values might be incorporated into discussions on global issues.
“Because families are where a child first learns and develops their character, it plays such a significant role in how they conduct themselves as adults and what they might contribute to the world,” said Naria Gaarder, Program Coordinator for YSP USA.
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