Youth delegates at the 60th GA session

Youth delegates at the 60th GA session

Youth Delegates for 2005
Photograph with Secretary-General Kofi Annan

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Photograph with H.E. Jan ELIASSON, President of the 60th session of the General Assembly

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Photograph with H.E. Ambassador Munir Akram, President of ECOSOC


Anne Spiegel
Age 24; Mainz, Germany; currently studying Political Science, Philosophy and Psychology at the University of Mainz. In high school, I was actively involved in student council work and was elected student representative at the state level. I was also elected to the national board of the green party’s youth organization, and coordinated international green youth networking, participating in a Spanish-German green youth exchange programme. Currently, I am still active in the green youth party, also for ‘grown-up’ greens. I will candidate for state parliament in Rheinland-Pfalz in the 2006 elections. I believe that young people everywhere should have the opportunity to be more involved politically on all levels, local, national and international. Political decisions don’t just affect our lives now but shape our futures as well. So it’s important that our voice be heard. In March 2005 I was elected as one of two German youth delegates to the UN’s General Assembly by the German Youth Council (DNK). I applied for the position because I was eager to take the opportunity of bringing young peoples’ hopes and ideas to the UN and speaking to delegates from around the world about youth participation in political decision-making. Being able to experience the workings of the fascinating body the UN is and meeting diplomats from around the globe has also been a very enriching learning experience for me. To prepare for New York we toured through Germany, met lots of young people and put on discussion forums to get a feeling for the uniting issues we should represent as delegates for the German youth. One of the main messages we picked up is that young people wish to be more involved in the political process on all levels. The call for free access to education and a louder voice internationally especially for the young people from countries that did not send youth delegates made us believe strongly that the UN youth delegate scheme should be continued and spread and be taken seriously. I hope we could emphasize at the UN that it is time to implement the WPAY and that we should convince more countries to send youth delegates next year.

Anri Samkharadze
1st Georgian Youth Delegate to the United Nations 1993 – 1998 President of Students’ Legal Club
From 1999 President of Antinarcotic Society. “… By using this unique opportunity, I would like to recall the 11th of September. Action, event, solution of modern destructive forces – I still can not find the suitable definition and I never will . One thing is obvious, unrecoverable evil was done. In my opinion, 11th of September was not an attack on a particular building, country or people. This was an attack on the idea of democracy itself. I want to address the youth of the world to unite against drug addiction in a hard-aged fight. We must not feed the monster which threatens us with destruction. We must explain, show an unpleasant picture to our peers that by the money they pay for addition dose of drugs which equals to hundreds of billions all over the world, terrorists do not build shelters for homeless children, hospitals, religious buildings, they use this money for their sick, vandal aims. I am addressing you to unite against drug addiction because tomorrow and perhaps the future may be in hand of non-stable individuals. This may result in catastrophe for the stabile democratic development the human kind…”

Antton Rönnholm
Age: 25; Currently, I am finishing my MA in Political Science and I work as an assistant to the Speaker of the Parliament of Finland. I have been active in the Finnish league for Nordic cooperation, and worked as the SG in the Young European Federalists of Finland (JEF). My political background is with the Social democratic Youth. I don’t expect to be able to change everything on my own, but I feel that youth employment, ICT as a divisive factor, intergenerational issues and mental health all have to be taken seriously.

Bakhtiyar Hajiyev
Age: 23; Khazar University. Hobbies: traveling, meeting new friends, and solving scientific (especially physics) problems. Currently I am responsible for the expansion process of AIESEC into Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is not currently a member of AIESEC, the world’s largest student organization, and that is why I am spending a lot of time and energy in order to establish a local committee of AIESEC in Azerbaijan. I am the Country Director for promotion of the Policy Document, which is the outcome document of 3rd World Youth Congress-2005. In Scotland, 600 delegates from more than 120 countries, worked hard in the preparation process of this document. Briefly, it states that governments should involve and mobilize youth in development programs. Youth-Led Development programs are very important in achieving the MDG’s. I arranged a meeting with some officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and presented the Policy Document, and soon after I was offered to be a youth representative. I expect that we will have a chance to meet more young people from other countries, and establish a network which will show that Youth really matters.

Ben Whitehouse
Age: 23; Social Worker from Perth, Australia; 7th Australian Youth Delegate to the United Nations. I have worked with young people including Indigenous, refugees, Special Needs, and the homeless in places such as Youth Drop-in Centres, after-hours street Medical Centres for homeless people, Soup Kitchens and Education Support Schools. Likewise I have worked in international ‘front-line’ programs in places like India and New Orleans. I am also a young man that has suffered major depression, which has fired my passion for demystifying the myths surrounding depression. My other passions include smiling, Avril Lavigne (seriously!) and the West Coast Eagles (my local footy team!). Currently work as a Child Protection Social Worker at the Department for Community Development in Western Australia. Selection as a youth delegate: The United Nations Youth Association of Australia reviewed written applications, interviewed candidates (15 – 25) and sent recommendation to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Preparation: For nearly 3 months young people held consultations in metropolitan, regional and remote regions meeting almost 4000 young people from youth centres, to schools, to football ovals, to dry creek beds finding out what it is like to be an Australian young person. A large consultation of 500 young people was also held in Perth on issues important to young people in the local and global community. Currently making a documentary for a TV about the bringing of young Australian voices to the United Nations. Burning issues: Young Australians value safety and they need to feel safe in their communities – whether globally (terrorism) or locally (inter-personal violence). It is vital to young people being confident, active and productive members of their communities. I will also present the importance of young people being aware of how to have their voices heard in their community over decisions that affect their lives.

Carla Mouro
Age: 28; I did a degree in International Relations and I like swim and dance a lot. At the moment, I am the President of Portuguese National Youth Council, that was created in 1985, is a platform for national youth organizations, integrating 29 member organizations to the present day that represent the most diverse areas of our society: students, youth party organizations, scouts, labour unions, religious confessions, interchange, culture and environment. This is the perfect place to improve my tools to work with youth and as well for my organization, so this way we can improve our methods of work and in the development and improving of strategies towards our goals of development and field effectiveness.

Diego Alberto Dewar Vizcarra
Age: 23 years; currently studying International Relations at El Colegio de México in Mexico City. I have worked in many Model United Nations since 1998, especially focused in international security and human rights issues. During this year I was selected as the Secretary General of the first Model UN celebrated at the Mexican Congress with the support of the United Nations Information Office. Last summer two colleagues introduced an initiative to incorpote youth delegates in the Mexican delegation. They were successful, and the Secretariat of Foreign Relations, along with the Mexican Institute for Youth, began a selection process. I have many expectations for this opportunity, but my main goal is to share the experience of Mexican youth social organizations, and to analyze other experiences in order to implement the best practices back at home.

Fahr Ahmed
I feel great joy as well as a sense of an immense responsibility in attempting to represent youth, who have a record of achieving remarkable feats with scarce resources. I look forward to the review of the progress, or the lack thereof, of the World Programme of Action for Youth, and to explore how we can build together on its achievements? The young people in our respective countries will be looking for an effective contribution from us. We must do what we can at the United Nations to influence the policies and plans for the youth so that youth are truly beneficial. I am a consultant on economic development issues and have been published on the subject. I did my Masters at the London School of Economics in the UK and my MBA from Hamdard University in Pakistan. I have worked in business development and stakeholder engagement with an international oil company in Pakistan. I play the piano and my favourite sport is Cricket. Do feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions about any aspects of Pakistani life:

Faris I. AlGhannam
Age: 23; Currently working in Equity Capital Markets at ABN AMRO Bank N.V., London; graduated in Prince Sultan University in Riyadh with B.S. in Business Administration in Accounting; delivered the statement of Saudi Arabia to the UN General Assembly. He participated in a national dialogue forum sponsored by King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue (NGO) entitled “Youths’ Issues”. Through this forum, several workshops were conducted to promote dialogue among young people around the country and identify youth issues. As a result of the dialogue, youth, both male and female, gained greater participate in their society in Saudi Arabia. He believes that this experience was instrumental in building a bridge between youth in his community and their peers from the rest of the world, as well as in finding common ground, regardless of diverse backgrounds, thoughts and circumstances. He says “This was clear in the level of interaction we had during our mission to UN. I indeed hope that our participation and efforts have added to the momentum of those of the UN –including the Programme– in addressing youth’s issues globally and in the long term, for our benefit in the near future and the benefit of future generations. I look forward to seeing the progress the global community will achieved by the twentieth anniversary of the “World Programme of Action for Youth” – although I will not be youth by then!”

Frederick Bernas
I’m 18 years old, from London and one of three UK Youth Delegates to the UNGA60. I have a background in youth participation work after being elected to the UK Youth Parliament in February 2004. Recently, I won another vote to sit on the Executive Council of ESSA, the English Secondary Students’ Association; it’s a new idea in England and I think we have the potential to achieve great things. Since being selected as a youth rep for the UK, I’ve been to the World Youth Congress in Scotland, a preparatory gathering in Sweden and the Helsinki Conference in Finland – before coming to New York for the General Assembly and WPAY +10 review process. Back at home in London I have a job as youth participation worker for my local area, do some work as a freelance journalist, play sports, learn four musical instruments and study languages. In September 2006 I will begin a Politics degree at the University of Bristol. Before 2005, the UK never included youth reps in its official UN delegation; to be one of the first three ever is both a tremendous honour and a great responsibility. Our collective task is to represent the young people of our country to the best of our abilities and ensure that our Mission continues to include youth delegates for many years to come. You can read my blog at : If you wish to contact the UK youth delegates, you can e-mail them at

Hanna Hallin
Age 23; Stockholm, Sweden; Political Science at Uppsala University. I have been involved in youth organizations and projects all my life; from forming a youth association organizing an exchange project with Spanish youth to be a scout leader and doing voluntary work abroad. In Uppsala I am active in the Red Cross Youth at the local level and in the Uppsala Association of International Affairs (UAIA). I am also very involved in the field of fair trade and sustainable development, which I think is essential to improve the life for young people all over the world. I believe in the idea of “by youth for youth”. Together with the other youth reps I hope to get the message through to a number of Member States that it is time for implementation of the WPAY and that they must not oversee young people in their work with the MDGs. Over the year I also hope to convince at least one country to include a youth rep in their delegation to UNGA or the CSD 2006. So watch out! An important task for me is also to put forward a youth perspective in the work of the Swedish Permanent Mission and to emphasize what is important for Swedish young people to the Swedish delegation. Simply, I will just show them all that I am a young person and I do good stuff, and there are plenty of us out there! The most important work is to be done back home in Sweden. I will bring my knowledge and experience back to the 100 member organizations of LSU and other young people with two purposes. The first is to empower young people and youth organizations to lobby the Swedish Government to implement decisions taken in the UN, the second is to “educate” on how to participate in and lobby the UN system. I will travel around Sweden and hold workshops and lectures on these matters as well as on WPAY and the MDGs as such. In brief, my mission is to be a resource on UN issues for young people in Sweden.

Itzel Barrera de Diego
Age: 22 years; currently studying International Relations at Tec de Monterrey, Campus Ciudad de México. I’ve worked as a moderator for a number of Model United Nations at my University, and acted as a liaison officer for the UNDP at the WTO ministerial conference held at Cancun. As I was brought up in a bilingual school system, and because of my recent participation in an exchange program in Paris, France, my interest in various cultures is evident. This experience is therefore one of the most exciting and formative possible, and I look forward to many more young mexicans having such an opportunity.

Julia E. Garant
Age: 24 years; I am currently a second language teacher, after having completed a B.A. in Spanish, French and International Studies at Queen’s University, and a Bachelor of Education at the University of Toronto. I believe every young person has special needs and gifts. I am an advocate for cross-cultural understanding, having participated in study abroad programs in Cuba and Mexico which greatly shaped my identity. This is the inaugural year for Canada Youth Delegates to the United Nations General Assembly. I am honoured to represent Canadian youth and I am here to learn from the best practices of other nations. I am proud of my country’s emphasis on education, both in national and international programs, as it has a positive effect on so many of the other priorities. I look forward to many more years of involvement of young Canadians at this level, and I hope to use this unbelievable experience to motivate youth at home.

Keeley Williams (details forthcoming)
Age: 21; I am from London, currently in my final year of studying a BSc Psychology at Brunel University, and working as a participation worker for my local youth service. I enjoy singing and I train with a group called ‘the WORKS’ for the National English Opera. I have been involved in youth participation since I was 12 years old when I joined my school council and then later joined my local youth parliament (NYP). I was elected to be the youth MP at the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) and attended the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. Last year, I went on a youth exchange with NYP to Johannesburg where I worked with ‘love Life’ (HIV prevention organisation), in a primary school and with young people with disabilities and am currently implementing a project based on the work of ‘love Life’ in my local area. I was selected to become one of the three Youth Delegates through two stages. Firstly, I submitted a CV and essay questions about youth participation and the MDG’s. Secondly, I was interviewed and gave a presentation about the WPAY. This is the first time the UK has sent Youth Delegate’s to the GA and it is crucial that this is maintained, as youth participation at the UN is essential to young people owning their futures. Myself and the other Youth Delegates carried out a consultation based on the WPAY with young people in the UK, so that we could represent their views appropriately at the GA. I also attended the World Youth Assembly to gain more knowledge about how young people on a global stage feel about the WPAY and the MDG’s. My focus at the GA is young people adopting healthy lifestyles (general health, sexual health, mental health, drugs, etc.), as this is at the core of young people’s physiological needs. Young people have the ability to evoke change; therefore, they have to be alive and healthy to make the difference that they are so capable of.


Kristofer McGhee
Scotland, United Kingdom; Age: 21; Final year of study of Business and Management and Public Policy at the University of Glasgow. My hobbies are theatre, watching films, music, participating in the youth parliament. I am Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Vice President of the UNYSA branch and Trustee of the British Youth Council. To select a youth delegate for the UK, applications were sought from young people throughout the UK and over 800 applications were received. From this, 12 were invited for interview and then the delegates were selected by the FCO and a representative of UNYSA. We are the first UK Youth Delegates to the United Nations. Young people in the UK do often participate in other international meetings, such as the World Youth Congress and EU Presidency events.

Mathew W. Whynott
I am a Political Science student and work for the Nova Scotia Provincial Government. I am the Co-Chair of the Nova Scotia Youth Advisory Council. Check out Nova Scotia at; I was selected through my involvement with my provincial Youth Advisory Council and the United Church of Canada. This is the very first year Canada has sent youth representatives to the General Assembly and hopefully this will continue. I have talked with students and young people about issues they see could benefit them in the future.

Thomas Nyarko Ampem
Age: 27; Studies: B A Social sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana; Youth Organization: National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) and University Students; Mode of selection: Nominations in Ghana were opened; applicants were short listed and invited for vetting and interview. This is the first time Ghana is sending a Youth Representative to the G.A.; A series of workshops were organized across the country with the help of the National Youth Council of Ghana with financial assistance from the National Council for Swedish Youth Organizations (LSU). Views and positions of various youth groups were debated and harmonized into a sound agenda. I also participated in a preparatory meeting for some youth representatives in Sweden.

Yuan Yao
Age: 20; currently studying International Relations, Law and Sinology in Switzerland; works as a teacher, intercultural interpreter & dancer. Switzerland joined the UN in 2002. This is the third time my country supported the Youth Rep-Project. The Swiss National Youth Council (SAJV) selects a team of five youth representatives based on a demanding criteria list. The five youth representatives then decide among themselves, who is going to be part of the swiss delegation at the General Assembly of the United Nations. I have been involved in many organisations (f.i. UNESCO) in order to work on youth issues. I write a monthly column on youth matters and teaching young people fulfils me in a way nothing else does. In June 2005, I was elected to the board of a National Children & Youth Foundation. I wanted to expand my horizon and work with four exceptional young people on youth issues in order to prove that young people can make a difference. This is an amazing privilege and you meet so many inspiring people. Furthermore, it is going to be a great learning experience! I want to be a voice of the Swiss Youth and our National Youth Council (SAJV) within the Swiss delegation to the United Nations General Assembly. I also want to lobby for the implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY) and the inclusion of more youth delegates – especially from “Southern countries”. We hope that more member states will realise that questions regarding youth can better be solved with the involvement of youth. This year – with regard to the continuing increase of mental illnesses among young people – Switzerland also underlines the importance of access to education, job training and employment security which enables youth to find their place in society. We claim for specific labour and political measures, national prevention programmes, as well as for regional and local action plans. And we hope that young people will continue to be involved in these solution-finding processes. We want to participate and be partners! We’re here and we’re ready!