56th Session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD56), 29 January-7 February 2018
Priority Theme: “Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all”
Mr. Matthias Rombouts
Mr. Matthias Rombouts
Ms. Assya Pandzharova
Assya Pandzharova is one of two United Nations Youth Delegates from Bulgaria. She is currently earning a bachelor’s degree in Arabic and Semitic studies at The University of Sofia (St. Kliment Ohridski). Assya actively participates in several non-governmental organizations as a youth coordinator and trainer focusing on human rights, public health and the integration of vulnerable groups into society. Furthermore, Assya has taken part in several seminars and trainings in order to strengthen her knowledge and experience in human rights, cross-cultural communication and lifelong learning.
Ms. Ralitsa Dikanska
Ralitsa Dikanska is one of two United Nations Youth Delegates from Bulgaria. Ralitsa is a fourth-year architecture student at University of Architecture Civil Engineering and Geodesy as well as a translator at the American College in Sofia. She also works at her family-owned company “Dikanski and Partners”. Ralitsa has actively participated in the Rotary International Youth Program, Rotaract, for 4 years and currently serves as the Assistant District Rotaract Representative to Rotaract Bulgaria.
Ralitsa is an avid tennis player and feels that sports’ values of responsibility, discipline and perseverance are at the core of who she is.
Mr. David Ulvr
Mr. David Ulvr
Ms. Mirna Aho
Mirna Aho, aged 26, is the Youth Delegate representing Finland at the 56th Commission for Social Development. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Communications at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. She is also working with women’s sustainable entrepreneurship and livelihood for Finn Church Aid, which is the largest Finnish organization for development cooperation and the second largest provider of humanitarian assistance in the country. She has a lot of experience in volunteering in different youth organizations. She is part of the Agenda 2030 Youth Group, which was established to work under the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development in 2017. She was also the President of UN Youth of Finland, the only national UN youth organization in Finland, and during her tenure, she actively engaged young people to become agents of sustainable development.
Ms. Anaick Geißel
Anaïck Geißel, aged 23, is one of the two German Youth Delegates to the United Nations. She currently studies German, Politics and Economics at the University of Stuttgart and plans to become a teacher. She is very committed to political education and has organized many Model UN Conferences in order to spread the work and values of the United Nations to German youth. As member of Model United Nations of Germany, she participated at the Commission on the Status of Women in 2015 and the Commission on Social Development in 2016, lobbying for the interests of young people. In her hometown, Anaïck is the leader of JUSOS, the youth organization of the social democratic party, and works on empowering young people to participate politically.
Ms. Zsófia Rácz
Zsófia Rácz is the United Nations Youth Delegate from Hungary. Zsófia is proud to be the country’s second Youth Delegate to the United Nations and is currently a student at Eötvös Lóránd University where she studies law. In high-school, Zsófia was a board member of the Student Council, editor of the school newspaper and board member of the school’s student association. Zsófia is a member of the Model Hungarian Parliament where she has served as the President of Commission for two years. In 2016, she visited the European Parliament in Strasbourg, through the Euroscola Program, and was the representative and spokesperson for the Hungarian Model Parliament delegation.
Zsófia’s experience in public speaking and debating have prepared her well for her role as youth delegate. She came in third in the International Public Speaking Competition in both 2015 and 2016, competed at the Debating Society of Hungary and established the “Word-War” Debate Club. Recently, Zsófia worked in different sectors of the Hungarian government and gained useful experiences that she will draw upon during her work as a youth delegate.
Mr. Marijn Visser
Mr. Marijn Visser
Ms. Jahkini Bisselink
Jahkini Bisselink, 18 years old, is one of the two Youth Delegates to the United Nations from the Netherlands. She is fresh out of high school and determined to make a difference. Before becoming a youth delegate, Jahkini had been very active on SDG related themes. At the age of 13, she became a junior news reporter, writing articles about diverse cultures in the neighbourhood to promote positive interactions. At 14, she started the school newspaper, at 16, she joined the young climate movement and at 17, she worked for the non-profit organization, War Child, amongst others.
Jahkini became a youth delegate in October 2017 after an open election, following an extensive application procedure. As a Dutch youth delegate, she is expected to speak to over 3000 young people a year. She is to give guest lectures to children from all levels and areas, including young people who has been left behind by the education system.
This links perfectly with Jahkini’s believe that everybody’s voice should be heard- the ethnic and religious minorities, the LGBTQIA+ community and of course, young people.
Ms. Ioana Covei
Ioana Covei is one of two United Nations Youth Delegates from Romania. She recently completed her master’s degree in culture and politics at the University of Bucharest. For the past 10 years, Ioana has been member of the Romanian Association for Debate, Oratory and Rhetoric, and served as Executive Director of one of its regional branches. She has instructed and coordinated several projects that promote human rights through debate, such as a multi-ethnic debate club tackling xenophobia and Debating Threats to Democracy, an International Debate Education Association project helping young people use critical thinking to advance democratic values. Ioana is especially interested in issues relating to youth health and patient rights. During her term as a youth delegate, Ioana hopes to empower young people to get involved in the betterment of their communities.
Mr. Vlad Măcelaru
Vlad Măcelaru, aged 24, is one of two United Nations Youth Delegates from Romania. Vlad is a graduate of Fontys University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands where he earned a degree in international business and management. Vlad had the opportunity to study abroad at Musashi University in Tokyo, Japan. His experience abroad made him curious and passionate about technology and inspired him to volunteer for the League of Romanian Students Abroad, where, together with his team, he mentors young people eager to study abroad. Currently, Vlad lives in Bucharest where he helps bring people together for technological and humanitarian projects.
Mr. Samedin Rovcanin
Samedin Rovcanin is a student of English and Portuguese language and literature at the University of Belgrade. He is one of the founders and current chairman of the youth NGO, “Mladi I Talentovani-MiT,” which supports creative youth initiatives in the fields of arts and culture. He has been active in youth work since 2012, primarily focusing on local youth activism, anti-discrimination mechanisms and enabling young people to take part in decision-making processes across various levels. From 2013-2017, he was involved in several youth leadership programmes organized by the British Council, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the National Democratic Institute (NDI). As a member of the official delegation of Serbia, he participated in the 29th Congress of local and regional authorities of the Council of Europe where he spoke on youth issues and professionalization of youth work in the Balkans region. Samedin plays the piano and the guitar, occasionally writes fiction and practices making new words in the various languages that he speaks.
United States of America
Ms. Munira Khalif
Munira Khalif is the United States Youth Observer to the United Nations. Munira is currently an undergraduate student at Harvard University, majoring in economics and minoring in government. She is a dedicated advocate for universal access to education and women’s and girls’ rights. Munira previously served as Teen Advisor for the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign and attended the first inaugural Malala Day at the UN Headquarters in New York. She also represented Girl Up on a UN panel to discuss ways to increase lawmakers’ involvement in youth issues. Munira, alongside other youth advocates, successfully lobbied US Congress to ensure that girls in developing countries are registered at birth.
Munira is a co-founder and leader of Lighting the Way, a youth-run non-profit organization working to make education more accessible and equitable for girls in East Africa. Munira was awarded the UN Special Envoy for Global Education’s Youth Courage Award, which honours young people fighting for universal education. Munira was invited twice to attend the annual White House Iftar dinner, which celebrates Muslim-American trailblazers both in the public and private sector.