UN SG appoints Jayathma Wickramanayake of Sri Lanka as Envoy on Youth
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed 26 year old Jayathma Wickramanayake of Sri Lanka- who played a key role in transforming the youth development sector at the national level- as his next Envoy on Youth. She will succeed Ahmad Alhendawi of Jordan to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his dedicated service in addressing the needs and rights of young people, bringing the work of the United Nations closer to them.
Ms. Wickramanayake is also credited with having established the ‘Hashtag Generation,’ a large civic and political engagement movement of young people. She has also represented and motivated global youth development at the international level since the age of 21, including at the UN, such as in the declaration of World Youth Skills Day.
Presently working as an officer of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service, Ms. Wickramanayake has previously served as Secretary to the Secretary General of the Parliament of Sri Lanka (2016-2017), Project Officer-Youth, One-Text Initiative in Sri Lanka (2015-2016), Member and Youth Lead Negotiator, International Youth Task Force of the World Conference on Youth 2014 (2013-2014) and Official Youth Delegate to the United Nations, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development (2012-2013). She was furthermore a Senator in the Sri Lankan Youth Parliament (2013-2015).
In this role, the Envoy on Youth is expected to expand the UN’s youth engagement and advocacy efforts across all four pillars of work – sustainable development, human rights, peace and security and humanitarian action.
The Envoy on Youth will play a lead role in realising the Secretary-General’s vision on youth, which places young people as a cross-cutting priority of the UN; ensures that young people’s perspectives are reflected across all pillars of the UN’s work; and places young people’s interests at the centre of the Secretary-General’s agenda for crisis prevention and sustaining peace by leveraging their talents, energy and innovation in addressing youth challenges and fostering opportunities.
Born in 1990, Ms. Wickramanayake is reading for Master of Development Studies, at the University of Colombo and holds a Bachelor degree in Science, from the same university.