Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon identified in his second term that working with and for young people was one of his top priorities. In this regard, he established the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth and appointed Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi of Jordan as his first-ever Envoy on Youth and as the youngest senior official in the history of the organization. Mr. Alhendawi assumed his position on 17 January 2013 with a mandate to harmonize the UN system efforts on youth development, enhance the UN response to youth needs, 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. The outgoing Envoy on Youth also acted as the advisor to and the representative of the Secretary-General on youth related matters.
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 expert and advocate at the national, regional and international levels. 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 Team Leader for the National Youth Policy Project in Iraq, 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.
Mr. Alhendawi was a co-founder for Youth for Democracy Network at the Jordanian Commission for Democratic Culture which he headed. Internationally, he was a co-founder of the International Youth Council, based in New York. Mr. Alhendawi has studiesd and worked in Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, France, and Germany. His current office is based at the UN Headquarters in New York.
The Envoy on Youth is mandated with the task of harmonizing the efforts of the United Nations on youth issues and to bring 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 “harmonizer 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 four priority areas Participation, Advocacy, Partnerships and Harmonization.
You can read the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Workplan here.