- Main page: 63rd Session of the General Assembly
- Side-event – 7 October: Growing Together: Youth and the work of the United Nations
(See Summary of discussions)
- Press Releases:
Photographs of the youth delegates with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
Elizabeth Shaw: (24); she has recently finished degrees in Law and Arts, and has been working as a legal assistant to the State Solicitor for Western Australia. She has had a lot of experience in youth advocacy and representation, having served as the Chair of the City of Perth Youth Advisory Council, the President of the UWA Law Students’ Society, the Editor of the UWA Student Newspaper Pelican, and as an Editor of the UWA Law Review. She is particularly passionate about youth participation, social inclusion, the advancement of women, the role of the media and closing the gap in indigenous health and education. She was selected by the United Nations Youth Association of Australia (UNYA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) through a national selection process. She raised over $40,000 in order to spend 4 months travelling to each state and territory of Australia to talk to young people about the United Nations and to listen to their concerns.
Melanie Poole: (24) is completing degrees in Law and Arts at the Australian National University. Melanie has spent several years abroad, travelling through Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. She has worked with young people in a diversity of circumstances. In 2007, she worked with young Pakistani and Afghani women in isolated communities along the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. Prior to this, she worked in a Kenyan AIDS orphanage and was later employed by the UNHCR on a project involving young women in Kakuma Refugees Camp, on the Kenya/Sudan border. She has also worked with young people in remote Indigenous Australian communities. These experiences have given her meaningful insights into the challenges that young people face across the globe. She is particularly passionate about the struggle for gender equality and Indigenous rights.
Elizabeta Petrova: (21); she is currently a third-year student in the field of regional development and politics at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. She is a member of the United Nations Youth Association (UNYA) of Bulgaria. She was the Bulgarian Representative of the Making Commitments Matter Initiative, an international students initiative aiming to contribute for the better implementation of the UN agreements on youth worldwide. She loves nature and is active in the Ecological Club UNECO at her University. This year, she co-organized the First National Students Conference ”Together against Corruption”. Her first work experience was as a tour guide at the Bulgarian National History Museum, where she gathered substantial knowledge of the history of her country, which created a strong desire in her to take more proactive role Bulgaria’s current situation and contribute to its future development.
Anna Ranki: (27); a political science student from Helsinki, is currently a member of the Finnish Youth Council (Allianssi), the Finnish Youth Centre and JEF-Finland. She has been a member of Allianssi’s international committee for two years and the international officer of the Finnish Youth Centre, working on Finnish youth policy. She was selected by the National Youth Council with co-operation Finnish UN Association. She was appointed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a term of eighteen months. She says that the UN, as well as all democratic institutions, should strive to divide power and participation equally, and that young people should be heard on the issues that affect them – which includes global issues.
Astrid Schrader: (22); she is currently studying languages, business and cultural studies at the University of Passau. Her background is in European youth politics, more precisely in the European Students’ Forum AEGEE (Association des Etats généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe) where she organised a range of multiplier trainings, youth exchanges and conferences. Following numerous local level and EU project activities, she presided over the AEGEE European-level working group on education matters. Since 2006, she has been a member of the AEGEE Academy, the internal Human Resources Working Group responsible for internal education. Last year, she completed training on conflict mediation, and started projects in Greece and Poland to train young volunteers on project management, leadership, intercultural cooperation and EU higher education matters. Germany selects its youth delegates through a 3-step process. The selection committee consists of the German UN Organization (DGVN e.V.), the German National Committee for International Youth Work (DNK), the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ). The first step is a written application including Curriculum Vitae, motivation letter and numerous questions on youth issues and the UN system, the second step is a telephone interview, and in the third step, final candidates are invited to participate in a 3-day assessment in Berlin.
Nicolas Klein: (23); he is a law student from Göttingen, Germany. In the eleventh grade, he was an exchange student in Seattle, USA, for one year, and ever since then, he has been an active volunteer for the exchange student organization AFS Intercultural Programs. After finishing high school, he worked for AFS Thailand in Bangkok for a “voluntary social year”. He has a particular interest in international law and was a participant at the Philip C. Jessup Moot Court Competition in 2007, a founding editor of the Göttingen Journal of International Law (GoJIL) and member of the European Law Students’ Association Tübingen (ELSA). For more information on the German youth delegates, please visit www.germanyouthdelegate.de.
Samuel Kwadwo Frimpong: (26); he holds Postgraduate Certificate in Public Administration from Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), an Advance Certificate in Project Management from the Pan-African Institute for Leadership and Governance Studies and a BSC in Agricultural Technology from the University for Development Studies in Ghana. Later this year, he will be starting an MBA at the Wuhan University of Technology in China. While at University, he was the National President for the University Students’ Association of Ghana (USAG), as well as a member of National Executive Committee of National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS). He was the General Secretary and later became the president of Tertiary Education Students Confederacy and also the Public Relation Officer for Students Christian Council. He was the creator and founding member of the Youth Parliament in University for Development Studies. He was the Organizing Secretary and later the President of the Volta Region Students Association and the General Secretary for Ashanti Students Union. Recently, for the first time in the history of the students’ movement in Ghana, he was awarded for his contribution to university education in Ghana by the students’ body. In 2004, he was a member of the team which drafted the Nation Youth Policy for Ghana. He has also served as the Executive Secretary for the Coalition of Liberal Youth which was in charge of all youth programmes during Ghana @ 50 celebrations. He did his National Service in the Office of the President. Adding to his accomplishments, he also holds Diploma in Theology. He was the Youth Mission Organizer, Youth Vice President, Outreach Director and now Project Manager for his church, Abiding Word Church. Earlier this year, Samuel participated in the Youth Summit on achieving the MDGs in Africa organized by African Sister Cities Foundation and was also a Protocol Officer during UNCTAD XII held in Accra. He was also a Host Official during the Ninth Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Accra, Ghana in June 2007. Currently, he is the Administrative Liaison Officer to the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana. He is also the Executive Director for the Infinity Development Foundation (Youth Empowerment NGO) and the Project Director for the Only Hope (Christian based NGO). Youth delegates in Ghana are selected by the Ghanaian Government through a competitive selection process. He intends to learn more from other delegates at the General Assembly about achieving the MDGs and later plans to hold seminars for Ghanian youth organizations and youth.
Ransford McCarroll Kpakpo Addo: (29); a marketing graduate from the University College of Management Studies, he is currently pursuing an MBA in Human Resources Management. As the President of his school’s Students’ Council, he worked on issues related to the emancipation of students through dialogue and a philosophy of non-violence, which he carried to the national level. As a member of the Central Committee of the National Union of Ghana Students, he was elected president of the Ghana Union of Professional Students.
Korantemaa Hagar: (23); she is currently studying journalism with political science specialization at the University of Education in Winneba, Ghana. She has a passion for child and youth welfare, the empowerment of women and the media’s role in the prevention of child labour in Ghana. Furthermore, she has been involved with children and youth advocacy work and has done research on child labour issues and female youth empowerment in Ghana. She has also been on an internship programme as a student journalist with the Graphic Communications Group in Ghana. She looks forward to using the experience and skills she will acquire as a youth delegate to further develop children and youth advocacy in Ghana.
Andrew Poku-Bonsu: (23); he holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Ghana. In 2002, he was selected as the National Best Debater (National Inter-Senior High School Debate Competition). During that same year, he was the Music Director of the Cape Coast Anglican Students Union and the church organist. He has also served as the Vice President of the Mfantsipim School Gender Club and General Secretary of the Green Earth Society, as well as the Vice President of the Ghana Japan Friendship Association (GAJAFAS) in Cape Coast. He has also been a member of an anti-HIV/AIDS Campaign organized by Divine Channels (an NGO in Ghana) and an Audit Committee Member of the Law Students Union, KNUST. In 2005, he founded a society called Youth Vision Initiatives (YVI) to encourage writing and debating among students in High Schools in Ghana. He has also been the Chairman of the Judicial Council of the Students’ Representative Council of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, as well as the Chairman of the Judicial Committee of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS). Last year, he was elected for a term as the National President of the University Students Association of Ghana (USAG) during which established the “Nnobua Fund”, to give financial aid to university students in Ghana.
Odale Mulgrave: (23); he has an Associate Degree in Family Life Education and is a final year student pursuing an undergraduate degree in the field of Social Work at the Northern Caribbean University. Over the past five years, he has served his country in the capacity of police officer in the Jamaica Constabulary Force. In 2005, he was awarded Jamaica’s Junior Police Officer of the Year. His leadership experience commenced in the late 1990’s when he was a Lance Corporal in the Jamaica Combined Cadet Force at Manchester High School. He is also a dedicated server at the Parish of Clarendon and a member of the Clarendon Parish AIDS Association. He is the Vice President of the Clarendon Youth Council and a youth mentor with the National Youth Service of Jamaica. He has formed and led Police Youth Clubs and sits on several youth committees. He is looking forward to use the skills honed in his capacity as a youth delegate to develop youth advocacy and participation in Jamaica and the Caribbean Region. In response to an advertisement for youth delegates by the Ministry of Information Youth Culture and Sports, he submitted his application along with two recommendations and a 2000 word essay addressing various youth issues at local, regional and international levels. As a short-listed applicant, he was taken through team-building exercises with the Jamaican military and then made presentations on youth participation and problem-solving to two youth groups. His final selection interview was conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Youth. He was then formally appointed by the Governor General of Jamaica.
(Observer) Young Joe Hur: (17); he is currently a senior at Daewon Foreign Language Highschool, Seoul; in February 2008, he was appointed as the first Korean Youth Delegate to the UN, the youngest Korean Government delegate ever. He delivered a statement to the 46th Commission for the Social Development on the theme “Promoting Full Employment and Decent Work for All”. He has also participated in the UN Advocacy Group Meeting of youth delegates held in Helsinki in September 2008 to help prepare for the 63rd session of the General Assembly. Along with other youth delegates, he submitted a report to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on youth participation in society. Earlier, as President of his school’s student council and as the Vice President of Korea Presidential Youth Congress, he worked to include the youth voice, not only in his school polices, but also in policies at the national level. During his time at the Presidential Youth Congress, their accomplishments included the lowering of the voting age, prohibiting the sale of carbonated beverages in all school cafeterias and promoting youth entrepreneurship development policies. In November 2008, at the 4th Presidential Youth Congress, he is scheduled to serve as the Speaker-designate for a briefing on the United Nations and Youth Participation before the President of Republic of Korea. He is deeply devoted to making the UN youth delegate tradition take root in Korea and has written a handbook for future Korean Youth Delegates to the UN. He has also helped in creating the UN youth delegates’ homepage (www.unyouth.com) and in publishing Youth Delegates’ Newsletter. He is actively interacting with other Asian Youth Delegates, as well as their Ministries of Foreign Affairs as a member of the 2008 Youth Delegate Association of the United Nations.
Raymundo Tamayo García Piña (24); currently studying his Major in Industrial and Systems Engineering, and minor in Political Science (Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Monterrey), with studies in economics, development and government at Essex and Uppsala. Raymundo has been involved for twelve years in the World Organization of the Scout Movement at local, national and international level, resulting elected by the 2005 World Scout Youth Forum as Youth Advisor to the World Scout Committee from 2005-2008, and organized the World Scout Youth Forum in Korea in 2008. Throughout his university studies, he presided the International Degree Program Student Association and the Student Council of the Tecnológico de Monterrey. He has been an advocate of youth involvement in decision making processes and youth empowerment for social development in local, national and international levels. He was co-founder of the Youth Organization for the United Nations in Mexico in 2000, where he coordinated a national project on the fight against racism and intolerance in 2001 and was Secretary General of several Model United Nations. In 2008 he was selected as Mexican Youth Delegate to the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly through a national competition that involved essay-writing, CV and a high-level interview. Raymundo is fully committed with the vision of Scouting of Creating a Better World, and strives to empower young people with the values, skills and attitudes necessary to play a constructive role in society. He is convinced that if everyone is aware of their individual social responsibility, their local actions with global vision will make this world a better place.
Stephanie Marie Black León: (24); she has a B.A. in International Relations (Universidad Iberoamericana, Ciudad de México), with studies in human rights, Mexico-US Relations (Superior Diploma granted by SIPA and CIDE), and transitions to democracy at Georgetown. She currently works at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico. Stephanie facilitates a class on the Inter-American System of Human Rights at Universidad Iberoamericana and is responsible for the participation of International Relations students in human rights mock courts. At present, she is collaborating with the Asociación Mexicana para las Naciones Unidas (Mexican Association for the United Nations) with a project on Model United Nations and in charged of public relations and has been engaged in national and international Model United Nations for the last eight years. She is writing a chapter on the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for a forthcoming publication. She was selected in 2008 as one of the three Mexican Youth Delegates to the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly after a highly competitive process. She is convinced that human rights must be a essential principle for public policy making.
Marco Amaury Fierro González: (24) ; he has a B.A. in International Relations (Universidad de las Américas Puebla), with studies in political science, national security (Superior Diploma), organization of electoral campaigns and political discourse. Amaury also works as a consultant in the area of Public Relations, as Senior Advisor in the municipality of Toluca, State of Mexico and as Teacher in the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, with the course Mexican Political System. He also has certifications recognizing him as one of the 5 best speakers (oratory) in Mexico. Among other activities, he has been General Secretary of the biggest Mexican UN Model, the Latin American Model United Nations and President of the Security Council in PARLAMUN (UN Model done in the Mexican Congress) and won the National Political Essay Prize in 2002. In 2008 he was selected as one of the three Mexican Youth Delegates to the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly through a national competition that involved essay-writing, CV and a high-level interview. He loves to integrate the entrepreneurial point of view to the policy and security discussions, reason because he expects to develop in the close future his own Public Relations enterprise, as well as a consultancy in national security and risk management.
Wouter Thiebou: (24); a student of International Development Studies in Wageningen who loves travelling overseas and meeting people. He is inspired by the lives of youth from around the world. He believes that everyone can learn from them by seeing how they cope with difficulties they face and how they use their enthusiasm and idealism to work for a “better world”. The selection process for youth delegates in the Netherlands begins with a review of applicant’s résumés and their answers to a questionnaire. The next stage involves a debate between 16 young people from which 6 semi-finalists are chosen. These candidates compete in pairs to receive the largest number of SMS messages from supporters. The winner of each of these pairs makes it into the finals. The three finalists are presented at a big event on the evening of UN Day, 24 October, where attendees vote for a winner. He says that he will work as a youth delegate to be voice of Dutch youth heard at the United Nations, as well as continue to work in the Netherlands among young people to raise awareness on international development issues.
Ingrid Grov Mannsverk: (21); Ingrid comes from Vadsø in the northernmost part of Norway. She has been politically active since she was 15 years old in Socialistic Youth, a youth political party in Norway. After having worked with student democracy, solidarity and other local youth issues, she worked for a year as a youth leader for PRESS – Save the Children Youth. During this period, she lived in India for six months as part of an international team, working on globalization and democracy-issues, including world trade, water privatisation, social forums, organizing working children and participatory methods. The team later worked on strengthening the organization PRESS, in Norway. Ingrid has lived for a year in Murmansk, in the northwestern part of Russia, studying Russian and working with Save the Children and environmental organizations. She has also lived with The Landless Movement of Brazil (MST), occupying land and struggling for land reform in Brazil, while learning about agriculture, food sovereignty, bio-fuel, world trade etc. In June 2008, she was elected vice president of Socialistic Youth of Norway, where she will work for the next two years.
Petter Hojem: (23); he moved from his hometown of Molde and the fjords of western Norway to the capital of the country at the age of 19 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in International Relations at the University of Oslo. Since then, he has obtained his degree from Oslo and l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Grenoble, France. Although, he is enrolled in an international Masters Degree programme in Peace and Conflict studies, he has taken time off in 2008 to do civilian service as an intern at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs in their department for Security and Conflict Management where he . conducting research on UN peace operations and UN reform among other issues. While living in Molde, Petter was an active member of his local branch of the Norwegian Labour Party Youth and the environmental organization “Nature & Youth”. Since moving to Oslo, he has become active in international struggle for the rights of sexual and gender minorities. As well as being the coordinator for the international board of the Queer Youth of Norway, he is a member of the international board of the Norwegian Association for Gay and Lesbian Liberation, LLH. He has also been a member of the working group on European affairs in the Norwegian Children and Youth Council, LNU.
Alexandra Martin: (19); currently studying International Relations and European Studies in Timisoara at West University and also working at the National Agency for Supporting Youth Initiatives, in charge of the North-West Region. She began volunteering at the age of 14 and is currently the mayor of the Local Youth Council in Timisoara. She was chosen as a youth delegates after a national contest, organized by the ORICUM Association and National Youth Council with the support of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Youth Authority. At GA63, she will promote employment, decent work for all, the MDGs and volunteering, which are some of the key concerns of Romanian Youth.
Michal Onderčo:(22); he is a student of international politics and history at Jacobs University Bremen, Germany and currently an Erasmus exchange student at Sciences-Po in Paris. He spent summer 2008 travelling around Syria and Lebanon meeting new people and tasting new worlds. This year, for the first time, the youth delegate was selected in a nation-wide competition. The competition was coordinated by the Youth Council of Slovakia and the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic. Since 2005, Michal has been working as a project coordinator for the NGO Student Association for Political Sciences in Prešov, Slovakia, persuading young people and authorities that being active is a good thing. He believes that active young people are essential for the development of society and that their neglect is a luxury nobody can afford.
(Observer) Deepamala Abeysekera: (27); she has a Masters Degree in International Public Law ( LLM) from University of Nottingham, an LLB from University of London, BSc in Economics and Management from London School of Economics, a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism from Asian College of Journalism and a Diploma in Human Rights. She has won several awards in journalism and was also sponsored by the German Government to attend the Summer Academy on Media Freedom & Journalistic Ethics for young journalists at the International Institute of Journalism in Hamburg. She runs her own company that awards over 100 educational scholarships to underprivileged students from grades 1-13 living in conflict zones in Sri Lanka. She has also pioneered the first-ever reality TV show based on an educational platform in Sri Lanka to provide young people with an opportunity to be seen and heard on national media. She has also interned at UN headquarters with the Security Council, the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the UN Programme on Youth. Currently, she is attending the 63rd session of the General Assembly and is trying to explore the possibilities of institutionalizing a transparent selection process to bring Sri Lankan youth delegates to the General Assembly, which will allow them be a part of this valuable and empowering experience.
Marie Wickberg: (24) she is the Vice President of the Center Youth Party of Sweden where she lobbies for gender equality, environmental issues and international relations. She lives in Stockholm where she works as a press secretary for the Swedish parliament. She was first nominated by her organization and then selected by the national youth council (LSU) and finally appointed by the ministry of foreign affairs. At the General Assembly this year, she hopes to raise awareness of youth issues within the UN, and thereafter, raise awareness about the UN among the young people in Sweden.
Jonas Rey: (21); born in the Canton du Valais, in Switzerland, he is currently studying contemporary history at the University of Zürich. He is the vice-president of the student club UFDMUN that offered him the opportunity to take part in a Model United Nations. He is a member of the Swiss United Nations Youth Association and also represents Switzerland in JUNES and the MCM initiative. He is also working on various projects in connection with the United Nations.
Tanawat Phaovibul: (18); he is a second-year university student who has participated in Model United Nations, school newspapers and his university debate club. He was selected as a Thai youth delegate through a series of exams and interviews conducted by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He says “Having youth delegates to the General Assembly makes the United Nations a more well-rounded and credible international organization. If an international body is going to be making decisions which are going to impact youth, it only makes sense that young people be involved in the process”.
Roazita Ma: (24); she has a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Science and Technology from Mahidol University, Thailand. She has participated in a number of debates and drawing competitions in high-school. She recognizes the importance of education, especially for minorities, and has volunteered as a Science and English teacher at a local secondary school in Southern Thailand, as well as organized many science and English educational camps for young people. She was selected as a youth delegate through national essay contest and debate organized by the Ministry of Education. As one of ten finalists, she was then interviewed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She says that young people are a vital human resource for development, and that by including them at UN meetings, allows the General Assembly to directly hear their voices and address the issues that impact their lives.