Youth encouraged to start innovating

In connection with the recent ECOSOC Youth Forum, UN Youth Envoy Ahmad Alhendawi, Mashable’s Chief Marketing Officer Stacy Martinet and Founder of boo-box Marco Gomes, shared their thoughts on how to empower youth to be future innovators

“Everyone has a share in making the world a better place,” said the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Ahmad Alhendawi, as he spoke with DESA in connection with ECOSOC’s Youth Forum held on 27 March. Mr. Alhendawi also described the close connection between young people and science, technology and social media, saying “young people are not just the consumers of these applications, they are the innovators and they are the people that are paving the way for more innovations to come”.

When talking about some of the measures young people can take to change the world, Mr. Alhendawi pointed to the possibilities of new technologies, enabling us to connect. He also underscored the importance of moving from virtual to real. “I think young people hold the potential to do that, and they should really believe in themselves and believe that it is not about changing everything always. It is about starting something new, small ventures, a new enterprise,” he said.

“The opportunities are endless,” said Mashable’s Chief Marketing Officer Stacy Martinet, sharing her advice for today’s youth and describing the prospects brought on by the age of digital media and the rapid pace of innovations in technology. “They should take their ideas and creativity and start working on things that are important,” she said, also underscoring the power of social media as a way to connect, collaborate and to help transform societies.

“To use science and technology to change the world, the most important thing is prepare yourself, educate yourself,” said Marco Gomes, Founder of boo-box, emphasizing the need to be very well prepared before starting on such an endeavor. “Pay attention to what’s around you. Your community, your city, your country – they are full of opportunities,” Mr. Gomes said, adding encouragingly, “the world needs true innovation that improves people’s lives.”

Highlighting the role of the United Nations, Ms. Martinet said, “places like the UN and national and local governments are really also empowered to support young people who want to get involved (…) I think this is an exciting moment to do more for young people.” This is something which was also echoed by the UN’s newly appointed Youth Envoy Ahmad Alhendawi. “I am very much optimistic that in my office and with my mandate, I will be able to use and leverage all different tools that we have to reach out to young people and make them closer to the United Nations,” Mr. Alhendawi said.

Mr. Alhendawi, Ms. Martinet and Mr. Gomes are all supporting the work of ECOSOC, bringing the voices of youth into the important discussions and decisions of the Council ahead of its annual meeting in Geneva in July, as well as its major online campaign, “Innovate Your Future”, on Facebook and Thunderclap. The campaign seeks worldwide support to help empower youth and shape future innovators.

Share ideas with ECOSOC on how to leverage science, technology and culture to create a better world:

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