UNiting for Youth: A Global Interactive Dialogue

Today, Onaje Crawford, one of our Field Education students from Princeton Seminary attended “UNiting for Youth: A Global Interactive Dialogue” at UN headquarters in New York.  Below is his blog.

Today, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Envoy on Youth held “UNiting for Youth: A Global Interactive Dialogue”, connecting youth leaders from around the world with the United Nations to create comprehensive solutions to the challenges faced by youth and people of all ages. After a brief introduction by the envoy, Ahmad Alhindawi of Jordan, the Secretary-General gave opening remarks. Highlighting that working with youth and women are a keep component of his Five Year Action Agenda, the Secretary-General spoke to the distinct situation in which young people find themselves: “While the tools at your disposal are unprecedented, so are the challenges you face.” He also pointed out that half of the world’s population is twenty-five years old or younger, which creates unique opportunities for youth to step to the forefront of global leadership. To this end, the secretary-general announced the United Nation’s Youth Volunteer Program and remarked that he is committed to ensuring that the voice of young people will be, “reflected in the shaping of the future.” Next, he answered questions via web conference from youth delegates from Abuja, Nigeria, Beirut, Lebanon, Brasilia, Brazil, Brussels, Belgium, and Odisha, India, regarding the five areas of his youth action plan: employment & entrepreneurship, political inclusion, civic engagement, education, and health. At the conclusion of the Secretary-General’s question and answer session, the envoy introduced the panelist:

  • Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA,
  • Ms. Lakshmi Puri, Acting Head of UN Women,
  • Ms. Sima Bahous, ASG and UNDP Regional Director for Arab States,
  • Mr. Charles Dan, Special Representative of the ILO on Youth and Social Inclusion,

Each panelist gave remarks on the importance of increasing the inclusion of women and youth in leadership on local, national, and global levels. They spoke of the importance of eradicating extreme poverty, combining the efforts of women and youth to ensure equality for all, and creating new norms and standards for government that uphold and promote equality, human rights, and democratically identified concerns. After answering additional questions from the international youth delegates and the attendees in New York, the panelists concluded the event by making the following promises to young people:

  • They will seek innovative and creative ways of engaging youth.
  • They will do their best to understand the concerns and perspectives of youth.
    They will prioritize youth involvement and engagement in all activities, including those that are not specifically designated as “youth” related.
  • They will adhere to the motto, ‘Nothing about us, without us!’ when addressing any youth related concern.

The envoy also announced and encouraged participation in the 2013 International Youth Day, which will take place on Monday, August 12th at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

For additional information on the United Nation’s Youth Envoy, the Secretary-General’s plan for Youth Engagement, or 2013 International Youth Day, please visit the following websites: 




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