Samah Hadid (22): Samah is a human rights advocate from Australia. She is currently completing her Masters in Human Rights Law and Policy. Samah serves as the Youth Representative on the Australian National Commission for UNESCO. She is also a member of Amnesty International’s Diversity Steering Committee. She has completed a fellowship in minority rights with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and has volunteered with the Muslim Women Association for 7 years. Samah has been recognized for her volunteer work as the CRC Young Volunteer of the Year, and received a human rights commendation award. Samah is also a co-author of the book “The Future by Us”. As the 2010 Australian Youth Representative to the UN Samah hopes to profile the voices of indigenous and minority youth and promote the valuable role young people make to Australia.
Rodaina El Batnigi (21): Rodaina studies Pharmacy at the University of Vienna and works simultaneously at a pharmacy. Youth participation on all levels of daily life – socially, politically, economically and culturally- is very important for Rodaina. Since she was 12 years old she has been an active member of the Muslim Youth of Austria (MJÖ). There she organizes numerous projects and seminars that promote youth- and women’s empowerment as well as youth participation. In 2009 she became president of the Austrian National Youth Council (ÖJV), the legal representative body of 49 children’s- and youth organizations, which represents more than 1 million young people. She works on various youth-issues such as: education policy, youth unemployment, volunteering, youth participation and non-formal education. Rodaina is convinced that education is the most important requirement for social mobility because it affects the work life and the social standing of young people. Moreover she campaigns for the formal recognition of non-formal education which happens in youth organisations through participation, confidence building and developing of soft skills. For this reason, Rodaina also works to raising the value of youth organizations and support volunteer work.
Matthieu Content (23): Matthieu is currently studying History at the University of Liège (Belgium) with focus on the history of diplomacy and international relations in the early modern time. He is a member of the Youth Council of the French speaking community of Belgium and of its International Committee. Matthieu was selected to represent youth of the French speaking community of Belgium to the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Active in different youth associations since the age of 15, he has gained good experience of associations and youth work. He is also engaged in the Belgian student movement. Matthieu believes that, as humanity has to solve global problems like climate change, international trade issues, environmental issues or other issues which are not limited by states boundaries, the world needs more efficient global governance surpassing national interests. That’s why he thinks the United Nations institutions have to start step by step a big transformation into a United Peoples Organisation which would be more efficient to solve global matters. He also believes that young people have to be associated to every decision process, especially when these are long-term decisions.
Gitte Briffa: Gitte graduated as a social cultural worker in 2009. Working with people in less fortunate situations than hers prompted her to study international and comparative politics in Leuven. This way, working in politics, she can bring about actual structural change. Gitte volunteers for the Flemish Youth Council of Belgium and takes part in the International Committee. She also contributes to the European structural dialogue (taking place from January 2010 to July 2011) concerning youth employment. She will take the input gathered from this dialogue and review it in the UNGA. Gitta and the other Belgian youth delegate, Matthieu Content, will participate at this year’s General Assembly as observers. During the UNGA65 she will advocate for greater youth participation so more young people will have the possibility to be included in the official delegations.
Rapula M. Kegopilwe (22): Rapula is a third year BA student in Economics and Accounting at the University of Botswana. He is currently a Projects Coordinator at the Botswana Youth United Nations Association. Rapula has served in numerous leadership positions throughout his years as a student including serving as the SRC president. He served as the Secretary General for the Debate Masters and coordinated the Power in the Voice international debate section. He also serves as a chair of the mentorship program ‘TEAM’, which aims at nurturing youth capacity in program development dealing with ordinary citizens needing help in developing viable business entities. Rapula believes that the leadership capacity of youth should be nurtured at all costs, emphasising the need for consolidated youth participation.
Velislava Alexandrova Ivanova (22): Velislava is a student in International Economic Relations, in Sofia, Bulgaria. She is convinced that young people have important responsibility in the increasingly globalized world. Assiduous work, desire for open dialog and true motivation to help others are key strengths that they can offer. Despite the intensive academic program in three languages, Velislava, herself, is devoted actively to a wide range of extracurricular activities aimed at improving the lives of young people. Velislava is immensely grateful for the huge support from the UN Association in Bulgaria, for the devotion of the leaders and all partners of the Initiative UN Youth Delegate, for the hard work of the 2010 team during the process, and specially for the wise advice provided from the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the preparation of national positions for the global level! Inspired by the rich diversity and the impressive experience of her fellow delegates, Velislava will be glad to represent the results of the serious work on a national level and in the UN International Year of Youth to make a humble contribution in making the youth’s voice be heard at the world’s highest forum.
Pamela Martinez Achecar (19): Pamela is an honor student of Economics at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo. Pamela also has a Diploma Degree on Social and Political Leadership and on Applied Econometrics. Since an early age, Pamela has shown a great interest in social and political affairs, as well as an outstanding sensibility toward the suffering of human kind. Pamela has a strong believe in the transforming power of will, and considers this opportunity as a platform to renew the commitment of young Dominicans to the future of their country.
Cristina Zapata Taveras (19): Cristina graduated from San Judas Tadeo, Hispanic – Dominican School, where she earned a Bachelor of Dual Dominican-Spanish. She is currently a student of Advertising and Communication at the Iberoamerican University (UNIBE). Since 2006, Cristina has been an active participant in UN Model Conferences nationally and internationally. In 2008 she was President of the Action Group on the Millennium Development Goals of the San Judas Tadeo School, where she led various activities for the sustainable development of the Dominican Republic, especially in the area of health and education. Cristina has studied Film and Audiovisual at New York University (NYU) and is responsible for the graphic design of the project “I Blog for Human Rights” to contribute to the dissemination of Human Rights in the Dominican community. She was a member of the delegation that introduced the project at the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U 2010) held in Miami, Florida, USA in April 2010. Cristina currently works as Coordinator of Marketing and Advertising of the United Nations Association of the Dominican Republic (UNA-DR), a non-governmental, non-profit organization dedicated to support the United Nations work through youth.
Clara Leiva Burger (21): Clara comes from a small town near Nürnberg in Bavaria. For the past three years she has been studying social work at the Catholic University near Munich. Youth participation is very important for Clara. Since the age of 9 she has been an active member of the KjG, the Catholic Youth Association where participation takes place on every level. She is engaged as a leader in a parish youth group to organize events and summer camps and to speak up for the issues facing boys and girls. Therefore she develops and implements structures which support co-determination in order to motivate young people to take on social and political responsibility. An important task of Clara’s work as a member of the Woman Assembly Committee is to enforce equal treatment between men and women as well as handling of gender-specific needs. On regional level, she represents interests of young people as a Board member of the Youth Council while organizing projects in her hometown. Clara’s motto is: “Every young person has a voice which should be used and heard! Everyone can participate. Only those who are taking an active part in decision-making create a world where growing up is a pleasant and exciting journey!”
Jens Christoph Parker (22): Jens studies economics in Frankfurt am Main, while working simultaneously at Commerzbank AG. He collected experiences in the field of working with children and youth as a group leader of the German Lifeguard Association and being a class representative. Having participated at several Models United Nations (MUNs) as a part of delegations of the German Youth in Science and Society Association (JGW), Jens learned a lot about the work of the United Nations and international politics. Today he is an active member of the Green Youth, Amnesty International and the student networks of ethics and economics in practice (sneep). Jens has many interests, including youth unemployment, youth participation, environment, anti-discrimination and human rights. Jens motto is: “In a world, which is growing together very fast, where opportunities and challenges are close to each other, youth participation is becoming more and more important.” Therefore he is looking forward to getting in contact with a lot of young people in order to represent the view of the youth living in Germany at the United Nations General Assembly 2010.
Laura Guadalupe Navarro Velazquez (24): Laura is studying to a bachelor degree in International Studies at Guadalajara University, in Mexico. In 2006, she was an exchange student in Australia as a recipient of the Peace Scholarship Program, sponsored by the Mexican Public Education Department and IDP Australia. During her stay in Australia, Laura was involved in orientation and support activities with the international student office of Swinburne University of Technology. Laura has been involved in a number of academic and student activities at her home university, in order to encourage students to become more involved in their university activities. She has also worked as a research assistant at the Asia Pacific Studies Department, and as a teaching assistant in the International Studies Department. Laura participated and supported academic activities in the university’s IV United Nations Model (ONUDG), and acted as an organizer and speaker of the first Student Macroeconomic Analysis Forum in 2009. Recently she worked at the Summit of the Americas Secretariat, in the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C. as part of the Winter-Spring Internship Program in 2010. She also participated as a working group leader in the Model of the Organization of American States Permanent Council.
Elsa van de Loo (22): Elsa is currently a law student in Amsterdam. She finished her bachelor degree last year with a specialization in Human Rights and International Law and is planning to do a Master in International Law and Politics. Youth participation is very important to Elsa; she has been active as a volunteer to coach high school students. Travelling in other countries made here passionate about Human Rights and different cultures. Elsa is also active as an ambassador for the NGO Islamic Relief and has done volunteer projects for local Women Groups, the Foundation Rombo Kenia and WorldWaterNet. Her main focus is on water as a human right. Elsa is passionate about this subject because water is at the roots of all human rights and is one of the most basic needs – we cannot live for more than a few days without it. And yet, most people take water for granted. She gives briefing and speeches on the subject, and it will also be the subject of her speech to the General Assembly.
Elisabeth Løland (26): Elisabeth is currently studying Russian and post-Soviet politics, history and language at the University of Oslo, and working as a vice president of the Youth of the Norwegian Christian Democrats. She is also representing the Christian Democrats in the regional council of Østfold, where she is working on issues regarding education, health and culture. Her main interest is to challenge and equip young men and women to be responsible for their own society and future, both in taking real interest and in getting real power. As a YD to the UNGA2010 she is representing LNU, an umbrella-organization representing more than 90 organizations for and by youth.
Magnus Ofstad Malnes (22): Magnus is a law student at the University of Oslo and active in the student movement on local, national and international level; fighting for broader and more equal access to higher education, improved quality, and protection of student rights. During the last year he was Executive for International Affairs in the National Union of Students in Norway, board member in the Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund (SAIH) and co-chair of the working group on international cooperation on behalf of the European Students’ Union (ESU). He is now active as a member of the Academic Affairs Committee in ESU, which promotes the interests of students in Europe towards the Bologna-Process, the European Union, Council of Europe and UNESCO. Magnus is also a board member in the Norwegian Children and Youth Council (LNU). He was previously a board member in the School Student Union of Norway (EON), and youth delegate to the UNESCO General Conference in 2009.
Kang, Yoon Jeong (19): Yoon is a student from the Republic of Korea. She likes to discover new things, is very open-minded and absorbs other cultures very quickly and is interested in global issues. She has majored in English Education, but is now planning to switch to international relations. Yoon started to learn English when she was 4. She is now trying to learn another language, either Spanish or French because she is interested in European languages. Yoon believes that this opportunity will make her grow and be positive about what she wants to do in the future.
Aloys Ntezimana (24): Aloys is an undergraduate student at the National University of Rwanda (NUR) in Biology. As a teenager, Aloys created various initiatives which culminated in initiating the UN Youth Programme in Rwanda in 2009 after conferring with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Youth and the National Youth Council. In 2010, he was appointed a UNESCO Youth Ambassador. His leadership experience began in 2007 after becoming a member of the World Youth Alliance and official chapter representative of this international youth organization in 2008. Aloys believes that family and youth are the base of every community, which is why they must be enabled to participate fully in the community and in decision making at all levels. He is passionate about bringing about change in his community and his message to all youth is exemplified in the quote by Peter Senge: “The quality of our work depends on our interior condition…. please let us be heroes”.
Abdualaziz Tarabzouni: Abdualaziz is currently a student at the School of International Service in the American University. At the age of 16, he started his journey by establishing the Saudi Leaders Club: the first student-run organization in the country. He had to amass strong support from decision makers to set the ground for the organization. Abdualaziz was chosen as the Youth Representative in Al-Aghar Strategic Think Tank, called upon with the objective of transforming the Saudi economy into a knowledge based economy, where he had an active role in building a state-level strategy for social development. He is also a member and speaker at the Arab Thought Foundation, where he participated in panels on education, intercultural dialogue, and R&D. Abdualaziz is currently an intern at an international strategic advisory firm, where his responsibilities include strategic consulting and extensive research of public policy. He is also an intern in the US Congress and contributes to news papers op-eds on global current issues.
Dana Vyzinkarova (24): Dana is currently studying Environmental Technology and International Affairs at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna. She has received her first degree in biochemistry. Dana works part-time in the European Youth Card Association, which promotes youth mobility through issuing the European Youth Card. Her main areas of interest are youth and environment and development and humanitarian aid. Recently she completed an internship at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department for Development and Humanitarian Aid, as a preparation to the UN General Assembly. Dana enjoys learning foreign languages and finding out about foreign cultures and global issues.
Felix König (23): Felix is the Swedish Youth Delegate to the General Assembly 2010. He lives in Stockholm but grew up in the smaller city of Jönköping. Felix represents the Swedish Youth Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights – RFSL Ungdom, where he has been the president since 2008. The issue of non-discrimination is an important issue, and Felix, acknowledges that young people can face discrimination on the basis of their age as well as other issues, such as religion, disability, sexuality, gender and gender expression. Felix will also raise the issue of youth participation in decision making – young people are not the future but actors for change, and leaders, today! This needs to be addressed and youth participation needs to be honest, true and influential.
Laura Crivelli (21): Laura lives in different places in Switzerland across the various linguistic regions, in Ticino (Italian), Geneva (French) and St. Gallen (German). She is currently finishing her Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs. Working as volunteer for various youth organisations (Caritas, RC, AIESEC) and being involved in diverse development projects abroad (Ecuador, Benin, Kenya, India) and international youth events (UN& WTO simulations, Peace Conference of Youth), she is actively engaged in international youth policy. Laura has also been active in the European and international branch of the Swiss National Youth Council. Her multiple trips abroad gave her the passion for cultural diversity and adventure, besides increasing her interest in current international challenges. She is convinced that the participation of youth in national and international policy decision making processes is indispensable to find innovative and sustainable solutions to current issues.
Pacharaporn Panomwonna Ayutthaya (23): Pacharaporn is a graduate student in Southeast Asian Studies at Chulalongkorn University. She did her undergraduate studies in Buddhist law and economics at Mahachulalongkornrajavidalaya University. She was Thailand’s representative and chair of the ASEAN Youth Summit in Bangkok 2008 and Thailand Representative at the World University Debating Championship 2010. During her undergraduate years, she organised several youth related events including rural development projects, a child and women’s rights awareness campaign, and international debating tournaments. She is interested in alternative development with relations to Sufficiency Economy Philosophy and Gross National Happiness. Her current research focuses on developing cognition that is suitable for a sustainable and sufficient way of life. She is also an enthusiast when it comes to astronomy and ancient civilisations.
Ploypailin Rupavijetra (19): Ploypailin is currently studying political science at Chiang Mai University, a university in the northern part of Thailand, which is also her hometown. In her childhood, she lived in Brisbane, Australia for 3 years and it was there that she started volunteering swhen she was 8 years old for the Brisbane Elderly Club and for the Refugee Camp in certain cultural exchange events. Apart from studying, she has recently been volunteering for the U.S. Consulate Chiang Mai, Thailand and is now applying to volunteer in The Friends Beyond Physical Club, Chiang Mai University, located in the United States to help students with disabilities with their studies and campus life. She enjoys learning foreign languages and is now focusing on learning an extra regional language and sign language as well. Since she is from the regional part of Thailand, she noticed the lack of awareness in national, regional, and international issues among local youths and their consumerism-led life. She intends to bring her experiences at UNGA back home to pass on to others in the hope of motivating self-development amongst them.
Walid Mhiri (30): Walid is a marketing teacher in a beautiful tourist town called “Sousse” in Tunisia. He has always been interested in youth matters and above all in democracy and human rights . Walid is the president of the United Nations Youth Association of Tunisia (www.unyta.org)which is a young associations working with young people and promoting the message of the UN to young people within Tunisia. Since his childhood, Walid has been working in issues concerning the civil society and he has been actively involved in various organizations. He is currently the vice-president of a local association of numeric culture, and a member of a local development and environment association. Walid is open to foreign civilizations and cultures and loves learning foreign languages. He strongly believes that youth are the solution and not the problem. The future of the world is between young people and Walid is ready to cooperate with different associations from all over the world.
Orhan Esad Akgün: Orhan is a student at Hacettepe University. His main interests are politics and diplomacy. Orhan has been active in various projects since 2005, including as a youth programme coordinator, founded the Troy Youth Club where he currently holds the chair as president, and has attended many international youth projects such as the Socrates Project and young leaders meeting for youth exchange. He has done research on the EU, EU and Turkey, global warming and gender equality. Orhan has also been active in various exchange programmes in France, Greece, Spain and Singapore. After attending a seminar in Armenia he started a project about peace building between Turkey and Armenia.
During the 65th Session of the General Assembly there will be a variety of events including a photo opportunity for the official youth delegates with the Secretary-General, a briefing with the UN Programme on Youth and a side event on youth at the German Mission. For more information about events taking place, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.