|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
PRESS CONFERENCE ON YOUTH LEADERSHIP SUMMIT
Nearly 400 young leaders from around the world were to gather at United Nations Headquarters in late October to develop initiatives meant to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals, Djibril Diallo, Director of the United Nations Office of Sport for Development and Peace, said today at a Headquarters press conference.
Each Member State would send a woman and a man between the ages of 18 and 30 to the three-day United Nations Global Youth Leadership Summit scheduled for 29 to 31 October. The young leaders would use sports and culture as tools to create projects that would ultimately help reduce hunger, educate children and improve the lives of the world’s poorest citizens by 2015. The Summit would be opened in the General Assembly chamber with an address from United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa of Bahrain.
The United Nations had organized the Summit as a way to create an interaction between generations, which was essential for the progress of the Millennium Development Goals, said Mr. Diallo, whose office organized the event. All indications were that, unless something was done, many countries would not reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, and the United Nations recognized the importance of the role of youth in that effort. The Summit also would help forge partnerships -- among Governments, the private sector and the United Nations system -– that were needed to reach the Millennium Development Goals.
As a way to link the generations, the Heads of State that had hosted regional youth leadership summits -- Senegal, Japan, Brazil, Morocco, Austria and Bahrain -- were invited to attend this month’s event. In response to a reporter’s question, Mr. Diallo said that Senegal had confirmed it would attend, while Austria could not attend. United Nations officials were waiting for other confirmations.
The delegates will break into working groups on Monday and Tuesday to discuss a variety of issues, such as job creation and information sharing. A panel focused on youth and migration would be held on Tuesday to highlight the links between youth and international migration and the need for employment opportunities for young people.
The partnership with the private sector was shown by the participation of major companies. In response to a reporter’s question about Sun Microsystem’s role, Mr. Diallo said the company viewed its relationship with the United Nations in this project as an opportunity for its staff to serve as mentors to young people. The partnership was also a way to help the younger generation use technology to fight the worst aspects of poverty. He added that the United Nations always carefully studied its potential business partners to be sure they met ethical standards.
As a universal language, sport was a positive vehicle to reach young people and help them work towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, he said. Corina Murafa, a youth delegate from Romania, told reporters of her experience at the United Nations European Youth Leadership Summit held earlier this year in Vienna. “I felt inspired by the Summit,” said the young woman, referring to the June event in which more than 1,000 youth engaged in sports activities for two days. The activities showed how sports could be used to address conflict resolution and build a culture peace, she said.
* *** *For information media • not an official record