United Nations Youth Associations (UNYAs) are youth-led NGOs consisting entirely of youth volunteers. UNYAs are a great way to learn about the United Nations and get other youth involved in understanding and sharing the ideals enshrined in the UN Charter and other universal principles. UNYAs also provide fertile ground for youth empowerment, education, networking, and generating public opinion to support the work of the United Nations building a better world for all.
Some of the core aims of UNYAs are to:
- Educate young people and the community about the work of the United Nations
- Empower young people to get involved in international affairs and civil society
- Represent the views of young people at a local, national and international level
- Act as forum for young people to network and socialize
If your country doesn’t have an UNYA, you can get involved with your local United Nations Association (UNA). If you do not know if your country has a UNA, contact the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) Youth Network.
WFUNA is a global nongovernmental nonprofit membership organization of UNAs in over 100 countries. The WFUNA Youth Network is a network of UN Youth Associations and UNA youth sections/youth wings from all around the world.
UNYAs conduct a variety of activities, some of which are:
- Model United Nations, a simulation of a UN meeting for High School students
- Education programmes for primary and secondary school students to inform them about the work of the United Nations
- Speakers events and panel discussions
- UN Youth Delegate programmes
One way to grow your own UNYA
- Get together with other interested people and have a meeting. Discuss how to find other interested members and what types of things the association could do.
- Use advertisement to recruit interested people – you might be able to convince a newspaper to publish a free announcement. You can also contact youth groups, young civic groups, schools, universities, and of course, your local UNA
- Convene a meeting of interested people to constitute the association and elect a committee. Brainstorm possible activities, programmes and projects for the organization
- Have regular meetings, make them interesting, and keep them as inclusive as possible – more people attending meetings means more ideas, more members, more success (and more fun!).
- Contact your local UNA and the WFUNA Youth Network and regularly keep them up to date on your activities.
For more information, please contact the WFUNA Youth Network.