The UN Secretary-General (UNSG) has identified in his second term working with and for young people as one of his top priorities. In this regard, he tasked the UN Volunteer Program to establish a Youth Volunteer Programme and the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD) to develop a System-Wide Action Plan on Youth. Moreover, he appointed Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi of Jordan as his first ever Envoy on Youth. The Envoy assumed his position on 17 January 2013 to advocate for addressing the development needs and rights of young people, as well as to bring the work of the United Nations with and for youth closer to them.
Born in 1984 in Jordan, Mr. Alhendawi holds a Master’s degree in Advanced European and International relations, a diploma as “Policy Officer in European and International Organizations” from the Institut Européen in Nice, and a Bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from the Al-Balqa Applied University in Jordan.
Mr. Alhendawi is a youth advocate at the national, regional and international levels. He was a co-founder for Youth for Democracy Network at the Jordanian Commission for Democratic Culture which he headed. Internationally, he is a co-founder of the International Youth Council, based in New York.
He previously worked as a Team Leader for the World Bank funded programme to the League of Arab States on Institutional Development to Strengthen Arab Policy and Participation. Prior to this, he served as the Youth Policy Advisor in the League of Arab States in Cairo and as an officer in the Technical Secretariat of the Arab Youth and Sports Ministers Council. Past experience also includes serving as a Team Leader for the National Youth Policy Project in Iraq, a Youth Programme Associate at the Iraq office of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and as an Emergency Programme Officer at the non-governmental organization Save the Children. As a regional consultant, he has also supported the Danish Youth Council’s projects in the Middle East and North Africa.
The Envoy on Youth is mandated with the task of bringing the voices of young people to the United Nations System. Moreover, the Envoy on Youth also works with different UN Agencies, Governments, Civil Society, Academia and Media stakeholders towards enhancing, empowering and strengthening the position of young people within and outside of the United Nations System. The role of the Envoy on Youth is also described by the UN Secretary-General as a “harmoniser between all UN agencies” bringing them together to explore cooperation opportunities for working with and for young people.
The workplan of the UNSG’s Envoy on Youth outlines 4 priority areas; Participation, Advocacy, Partnerships and Harmonisation. During the first year, increased focus will be placed on Employment and Civic Engagement while ensuring the integration of a gender perspective across all work areas. In parallel, the Envoy will support the Education First Initiative and the planned activities in relation to youth and education.
You can download the full PDF version of the UNSG’s Envoy on Youth Workplan here.