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Today in the Mission Yearbook

Young Adult Volunteer Attends Youth Assembly at United Nations

Simon Doong joins more than 1,000 young people at conference

April 19, 2018

Simon Doong, a Young Adult Volunteer with the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, attends the 2018 Winter Youth Assembly at the United Nations. Photo by Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations.

More than 1,000 young people from around the world recently gathered at the United Nations to attend the 2018 Winter Youth Assembly. Simon Doong, a Young Adult Volunteer with the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, was among the attendees.

The conference was organized by the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, which works to empower people through global education, youth leadership development and cultural exchange programs. Attendees were given the opportunity to engage the environmental and partnership dimensions of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to end poverty, tackle inequalities and combat climate change.

“I’ve learned a lot about how the PC(USA) works to address problems like climate change and poverty through partnership and advocacy,” said Doong. “I wanted to learn how we can enhance our work and further empower youth at the same time.”

Doong says the experience was “invigorating and re-affirming” of the church’s work around the world, referring to a session on building partnerships to end human trafficking.

“One speaker stressed the role of civil society in reporting trafficking efforts and taking preventative measures in local communities,” he said. “It made me proud to know that such efforts are a core part of PC(USA) policy and mission partner efforts around the world.”

Miroslav Lajčák, president of the U.N. General Assembly, addressed the Youth Assembly delegates, saying that world leaders “have said [we] need to hear youth voices, while repeatedly hugging the microphone ourselves.” Doong is hopeful the church can be a space for youth to be heard while providing opportunities to engage in meaningful dialogue.

Simon Doong meets with Jan Kickert, Austria’s ambassador to the U.N. Photo by Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations.

“The PC(USA) and many faith communities around the world already do the work the U.N. deems important,” Doong said. “Therefore, they provide unique opportunities for youth engagement and advocacy on issues of inequality and climate change.”

Other participants at the assembly included the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, the U.N. Environment Program and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

“It’s rare to see young people have such access to representatives of U.N. entities and ambassadors,” said Doong.

“Many of the youth at this assembly have little access outside of the weeklong event,” said Ryan Smith, director of the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations. “Because of the PC(USA)’s presence through the Presbyterian Ministry at the U.N., Simon gets to experience these types of events for an entire year, where he learns to build bridges between the Church and the international community.”

Doong is a Beltsville, Maryland, native and a graduate of the College of Wooster, where he majored in international relations with a focus on economics. He is in the midst of a yearlong commitment to the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations as an NYC YAV. Simon served as a Young Adult Volunteer last year in Korea.

Rick Jones, Communications Strategist, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Today’s Focus:  Young Adult Volunteer

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Janice Kim, PPC
Lydia Kim, PMA

Let us pray:

Gracious and loving God, we pray for young adults as they strive to live out their faith in a world that is often unkind, unsympathetic and uncooperative. May gifts of energy, intelligence, imagination and love fill those coming to adulthood in this time so that they have all they need to serve both you and your creation. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

Daily Readings

Morning Psalms 47; 147:12-20
First Reading Exodus 20:1-21
Second Reading Colossians 1:24-2:7
Gospel Reading Matthew 4:1-11
Evening Psalms 68; 113