Established in 2009, the Department of Global Communication’s Civil Society Youth Representatives Programme serves as an advocacy platform to bring together young people ages 18 to 32 working within and/or leading organizations that are in association with DGC and focused on issues on the agenda of the United Nations.
Leveraging the high visibility and strong impact of young people at the 66th United Nations DPI/NGO Conference in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea (30 May to 1 June), DGC (formerly DPI) established the Civil Society Youth Representative Steering Committee (thereafter referred to as the “Steering Committee”) in August 2016 to channel that momentum towards the strengthening of the Department’s youth platform and programmes.
The Civil Society Youth Representatives Steering Committee
- features youth ages 18 – 32
- Includes up to 25 Youth Representatives from civil society organizations formally associated with DGC
- advises DGC on youth engagement for outreach and advocacy on global issues on the UN agenda
DGC Civil Society Youth Steering Committee 2022-2023
- Ashley (Yee Siang) Yong, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation
- Cairo Eubanks, New Future Foundation International
- Eleftherios Dafermos, The Smile of the Child
- Nipuna Ambanpola, IVolunteer International Inc
- Rinor Jani, Pathways to Peace
- Saffin Mathew, 1M1B Foundation
- Wantoe Teah Wantoe, Sisters of Charity Federation
Ashley is currently serving as the DGC youth representative to the UN of Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, and is the project coordinator of Tzu Chi’s aid project in the Republic of Sierra Leone. An advocate for climate action and environmental protection, Ashley works with other young people to build communities with responsible and sustainable lifestyles. Recognizing the urgency of climate issues and its interconnectedness to other global issues, she wishes to raise awareness and call for more actionable commitments by youth around the globe.
Cairo Eubanks is the Global Correspondent for Global Oved Dei Seminary and University (GODSU), an interfaith e-learning institution. Her portfolio has taken her to Jamaica, Brazil, Morocco, Senegal, and Azerbaijan.
In January 2018, Cairo traveled to Tamil Nadu, India to work with a residential school program for marginalized children from 4 years old to 18 years old to break the cycle of poverty through education.
Cairo is the 2020 Fellow for the New Leaders Council and serves on the 2020-2021 Fellowship Board as the Co-Recruitment Chair for New Leaders Council: Broward Chapter. She is the Vice President and Brand Ambassador of Reading with Royalty, a virtual book reading initiative that works with hospitalized children and is an appointee to the Miramar Public Safety Council, as well as the Broward Sheriff’s Social Justice Task Force. Cairo also hosts a Facebook online vlog, Uplifting News. As Miss Broward County for the Miss America Organization, she has mentored youth and has created youth leadership programs including Personal and Professional Development for Future Global Leaders, a 3-part program that includes a 10-week online curriculum. An internationally certified leadership coach, Cairo believes that everyone has the potential to become a leader if given the opportunity to see themselves as a leader.
Nipuna Ambanpola is a philanthropist and social activist. Born and raised in Sri Lanka, Nipuna earned his Bachelor of Science in Economics from Georgia Southern University and Masters of Public Administration & Policy from the University of Georgia. Nipuna currently serves as the Founder and Executive Director of IVolunteer International, a 501(c)3 tech-nonprofit in the United States advocating and advancing volunteerism. Previously, Nipuna has served in a variety of leadership, executive, and policy roles in local and international settings. Nipuna’s forte is in research, youth policy, volunteerism, and tech-for-good. Nipuna is a Will Watt Fellow, Paul Harris Fellow, and a Rotary Youth All-Star, awarded through his involvement with Rotary International.
Rinor Jani currently serves as the Program Coordinator for the Nuclear Disarmament Advocacy and Research Program at Pathways To Peace globally and in Albania. Mr. Jani also is a Pathways To Peace Representative to the United Nations. In addition to his work at PTP, he is currently serving as a Committee Member on the UN Department of Global Communications Youth Steering Committee. Rinor is also studying Human Rights at Columbia University while also working with the Columbia University Center for Nuclear Studies. Rinor is also passionate about peacebuilding initiatives, refugee rights, and a more peaceful world through nuclear disarmament.
Saffin Mathew champions and advocates Climate Action and AI Youth Skills. As the Head of Programs at 1 Million for 1 Billion (1M1B) he conceptualizes and manages programs bringing youth together to achieve the SDGs using new age tools and technologies. The ‘AI for SDGs’ curriculum designed by Saffin is being used extensively to train high school students across India on AI while driving youth to create AI powered solutions to accelerate the SDGs. He works closely with global leaders and organizations to mobilize and engage youth for global impact. His passion to propel youth from intent to action has resulted in coaching and mentoring over 10,000 students as part of the 1M1B programs. Saffin oversees the annual 1M1B Activate Impact Summit at the United Nations, New York and is also associated with the TED community as a curator since 2012. He believes in the power of storytelling to evoke empathy, drive advocacy and achieve positive change.
Since the age of nine, Wantoe has championed the rights of women and children and has been one of Liberia’s prime faces for global sustainability and youth development. He is a passionate and dedicated young man driven by social causes. His listening and communication skills allow him to influence and mobilize young people, his community and decision makers. He is compassionate, always interested in other people’s views, and shimmering on how he can lead his life to improve the lives of others. His Leadership and commitment to solving deep systemic change is not hidden. Wantoe is a consistent voice at articulating policy prescription for the plethora of crises in Liberia. Evidence of his impeccable leadership and commitment to solving societal issues, Wantoe was awarded as a 2020 Friend of Humanity Distinguished Alumni Award Distinguished Alumni Award by the Friendship Ambassador Foundations. In June, he was awarded by a US college in New York, College of Mount Saint Vincent, The Vincent De Paul Award for his contribution to global enlightenment, student’s consciousness and systemic change. He is a certified 2019 Obama Foundation Leadership Asset and Dialogue Alumni. In addition, a 2019 Princess Diana Award Recipient Princess Diana Award Recipient, A 2018 Global Young Voices SDGs Champion Winner SDGs Champion Winner And a 2017 FAF Humanitarian Impact Winner Humanitarian Impact Winner among several recognitions. These recognitions landed with numerous impacts in resolving world issues that require his critical leadership skills, teamwork and a deep sense of humanity.
- Aishwarya Narasimhadevara, World Yoga Community
- Ali Mustafa, International Association for Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges
- Ourania (Rania) Papadopoulou, The Smile of the Child
- Rosleny Ubinas, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'i of the US
Aishwarya Narasimhadevara is the youth representative to the World Yoga Community, an NGO dedicated to raising awareness on yoga through inter-faith discussions. She is an individual wishing to make a difference in society like others. She is also involved in youth advocacy related projects and interested in the importance of Education in the field of International Development. She has been involved with various non-government organizations working in the field of education, the environment, and culture. She has a Master’s in International Development from the University of Kent-Brussels School of International Studies in Brussels, Belgium. She is also currently reading for a Ph.D. in International Development at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. Travelling is a passion of hers and she enjoys seeing new places. She also enjoys learning, taking photos, and practicing karate.
Ali is a youth development professional who brings with him over 13 years of experience as a human rights advocate and a youth mobilizing force. He has worked with numerous multilateral organizations in various capacities and has developed programs on youth and gender. He founded GNVOY in 2009. In his role with UNFPA, he engaged with a group of university students to present youth mobilization programs to various targeted communities and was able to enroll 2,500 youth in the program with their constant feedback. He led ‘I Own Karachi’ in Pakistan, a movement to encourage volunteerism amongst youth.
With the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, Ali’s role has been of developing partnerships for youth inclusion in UN programs, while simultaneously working as Co-chair for the Youth Sub-committee of the 68th UN Civil Society Conference. He is currently serving as the Youth Representative to the UN Department of Global Communications and Director of Generation Next, a movement aiming to create momentum on the Youth Climate Compact adopted at the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference.
Ali holds a Master’s degree in International Relations and is a PhD candidate in Political Science.
Rania is the Coordinator of the European Student Voluntary Network “YouSmile” of the Greek NGO “The Smile of The Child”. Besides being a member of DGC’s Youth Steering Committee, she is a child’s rights advocate specialized in the implementation of child and youth participation. After her BA studies in English Literature, she has completed her MA in Human Rights and Global Ethics at the University of Leicester.
Rania is passionate about promoting and defending child rights not only in Greece but at an international level as well. She has a great experience on facilitating social media campaigns. She loves travelling and discovering new places around the world.
Rosleny joined the United Nations Office of National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States in August 2017. One of her roles is to explore ways youth can contribute to the betterment of society by working with non-governmental organizations and other youth advocates on issues such as racial inequality, advancement of women, and the role of religion in society. Her previous work experience includes adolescent counseling along with development for academic and non-profit organizations.
She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Africana Studies from Franklin & Marshall College.
Rosleny was part of the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women Conference Planning Committee by serving on the Artisan Fair sub-committee and Reception sub-committee. Rosleny was the Youth Co-chair of the Conference Planning Social Media Sub-committee to the 67th UN DPI/NGO Conference in New York, NY.
Members of the DGC Civil Society Youth Representatives Steering Committee can be contacted for speaking engageements via email address undgccso(at)un.org with an indication of the name of the addressee.