Meet the Youth Delegates
Aleks Semerciyan, aged 25, from Vienna, is the Austrian Youth Delegate to the UN General Assembly 2013.
Aleks is in his final year of his Master’s Degree in law at the University of Vienna. He spent one academic year abroad in the Netherlands, where he focused on Public International Law, International Relations as well as European Union Law. He earned international experience as an intern in the political department of the Austrian Embassy in Washington D.C (U.S.A). Furthermore he successfully participated in several renowned Model United Nations (MUNs) in Europe. Additionally he represents the City of Vienna as a Youth Delegate at conferences on the European regional level. Next to his studies, he earned longstanding working experience in national and international law firms as well as a Junior Consultant in a legal executive search company (Human Resources). Moreover, Aleks was and is still active in several national and international youth organizations like the Austrian UN Student Association (UNYSA) or the Dutch UN Student Association (DUNSA). In the Scout Movement (WOSM) he is active on a local level already for more than 15 years. His main interests are Diplomacy, Public International Law, International Relations, International Criminal Justice, European Union Law, History and Economy. As the Austrian UN Youth Delegate, Aleks is focusing especially on the empowerment of young people in society at all levels as well as on children & youth in conflict (conflict prevention, humanitarian law, post conflict & reconciliation, international criminal justice). For young people education is a key element and he believes that bringing nations together is crucial to establish a peaceful and prosperous future for everybody.
Elien Raport is one of the two Belgian Youth Delegates to the UN. She represents the Flemish young people while Denis Naets currently represents the French speaking youth. Together they participated in the 51st session of the UN Commission for Social Development and they will deliver again at the 68th session of the UN General Assembly. Elien has obtained a master degree in international politics and a second master in international business economics and management. She enjoyed an erasmus exchange experience in Galway, Ireland and did an internship at the European Commission (DG agriculture and rural development). She started working in the youth sector (Youth Council and USE-IT, tourist info for young people) and recently changed jobs. She currently works as program manager for a Belgian federal science institute.
During the UN CSocD Elien and Denis focussed on the issue of youth unemployment. While this is still an important topic to them, they will try to raise as much attention as possible to youth participation at the UN Genearl Assembly Third Committee. This will be a topic of major importance during the Belgian youth led side event, the youth resolution negotiations and any other UNGA related opportunity.
Denis Naets, aged 27, from the French-speaking part of Belgium, is one of the two Belgian Youth Delegates to the UN General Assembly 2013. He completed a master’s degree in Ethics and Public Policy at the University of Louvain, as well as a master in Political Sciences. During his studies, he managed a student association which spreads information about the actions and challenges of the United Nations. Later he became actively involved in the United Nations Association (UNA) of the French-speaking community of Belgium. He currently works in the field of project management.
Together with Elien Raport, the Flemish Youth Delegate, he attended the Commission for Social Development, drawing attention to the global issue of youth unemployment. At the UN General Assembly, they will promote the idea of youth participation in decision-making processes. According to the Belgian Youth Delegates, it is an urgent time to consider young people as partners and invite them to the table where their future is being decided. They will, among other things, organize a side-event at the United Nations to bring this message across.
Peter Mladenov, aged 22, from Sofia, is one of the Bulgarian Youth Delegate to the 68th session of the UN General Assembly, the 8th UNESCO Youth Forum, and the 52nd Commission on Social Development. Peter is undertaking two Bachelor degrees at the moment, the first one is on International Relations & Politics at Coventry University, UK and the second one is on Political Economy at the University of National and World Economy, Bulgaria.
Peter is working in the field of sexual and reproductive rights of youth since 2007. He is a certified trainer on Peer education, Advocacy and Project management and development and has a number of conducted trainings so far either regional or national. He was a coordinator on National advocacy project for promoting the health education, part of the Regional working group as part of the Regional Youth Forum of UNFPA in 2013 and member of the International Youth Network of Y-PEER. Last year he was awarded with a Fellowship program for young leaders at the Peer Education Training and Research Institute (PETRI) – Sofia, funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Due to his dedication in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights, Peter has been awarded with a scholarship to attend of one of the biggest events on HIV/AIDS, i.e. International AIDS Society Conference 2013, Kuala Lumpur. He also was one of the International Coordinators for the International Advocacy Campaign “10 Days of Activism” organized by Y-PEER and supported by UNFPA. In addition to the above he was invited by UNFPA to attend the Open Meeting of the UN Intern-Agency Network on Youth Development which will take place at the end of September in NYC.
Peter in cooperation with the other Bulgarian Youth Delegate, Ms. Milena Andreeva, will focus on some of the main youth issues nowadays, e.g. Education, Peace and Security, HIV/AIDS and etc. He is determined to promote the human rights of the young people with a special focus on their sexual and reproductive health rights through the popular methods of non-formal education.
Milena Andreeva, aged 26, is one of the Bulgarian youth delegates to the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly. She obtained her second Master’s degree in International Peace and Security at Korea University, Seoul as a scholarship grantee of the Korean Government. Her first MA and BA in Economic Logistics are from the National Military University of Bulgaria and she is also BA’s candidate at the American College of Thessaloniki, Greece majoring in Diplomacy and International Relations. Driven by a willingness to make a difference and recognizing the importance of the effective defence diplomacy as a mean to preclude national and international conflicts and crises, she undertook an internship at the International Military Staff, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Headquarters. Currently Milena is working at the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Bulgaria as military cooperation expert.
In line with her genuine interest in the peace and security domain and its relation to the youth, she was also a President of East Asian Society at Korea University concentrated on peace and security studies of East Asia. Milena’s extensive cultural experience has given her a deep insight into the needs of the young people around the world. This is why she recognizes the efficient networking, interconnectivity, coordination, and interdependence as key instruments for the enhancement of the human, structural, and stakeholders’ capital. Furthermore Milena is interested in and prioritizes during her one-year mandate the process of building-up social and moral values of the young people, as she believes that those values are the foundation of each complete and virtuous person.
Dr. Richard Oliver Bidó Medina, aged 23, is a young Medical Doctor from the Dominican Republic. He obtained his Medical Degree from the Medicine School of Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo at age of 21 years old, with the honors Magna Cum Laude, being the first of his class. Currently, he is a Teacher Assistant in the chairs of Physiology and Pharmacology in Universidad Catolica Tecnologica del Cibao. Next year he will start a Graduate Program to obtain a PhD Degree in Neuroscience and Behavior in the USA. Since high school he attended various academic and volunteer groups that lead him to achieve many distinctions and recognitions. At the age of 15 years old he received the greatest recognition given to any student in his country: Maximum Excellence of the Dominican Education, and also was National Champion of the Academics Olympics (Literature, Spelling, Mathematics and Sciences) and twice awarded with the National Youth Award.
In 2006 he was co-founder and president of the Students Development Unit, and responsible for the organization of different events such as Model United Nations, Debate Forums, Conferences and many others academic activities. He earned the 2009 scholarship of the American Embassy in Santo Domingo to participate in one of the American Institute for Student Leaders, attending to universities as Amherst College, UMASS, ARIZONA U and Harvard; to study History and Politics. He is member of the winner team of the Project Contest of the USA State Department, with the project “Education and Climate Change”.
He has a strong background in International Studies due to his participation in more than 40 MUNs, both as delegate and as staff. Currently he is member (in quality of volunteer) of several Institutions and Organizations dedicated to Youth Development, such as United Nations Association of the Dominican Republic, Ministry of Higher Education, Junior Chamber International, Rotary, International Studies Association and Ministry of Youth. When elected as a Youth Delegate he started a special agenda to set different Consultation Mechanisms to assess and listen to the youth of his country.
Tytti Matsinen, aged 26, is the Finnish Youth Delegate to the UN General Assembly.
Tytti Matsinen is interested in equity and human rights, international development and peace issues. She has worked and volunteered for years in youth networks and organizations working for global justice and been an active member of the international work of the national youth council of Finland. In 2011-2012 Tytti volunteered for 13 months in a peace and reconciliation centre in Northern Ireland. The main focus of Tytti’s Youth Delegate year has been on equity and equal opportunities, the post-2015 development agenda and youth participation. She has personal experience on disability as she is legally blind.
Tytti has a B.Sc. (Tech.) in Industrial Engineering and management. She currently works as a project coordinator in the Finnish Disabled People’s International Development Association and studies theology with a minor in development studies, as well as continuing on with industrial engineering.
Tornike Zurabashvili, aged 23, is the Youth Delegate of Georgia to the United Nations. In 2007-2011 he obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences of Tbilisi State University and since 2012 he has been studying at Ilia State University’s MPA program. Tornike has completed a number of study abroad programs, including in Albuquerque, USA as Future Leaders Exchange Program winner; at Tartu University in Estonia; at Charles University in Czech Republic (AIPES), and Georgetown University in Washington DC (ICPES). At different times, Tornike has interned at the Foreign Relations Committee at the Parliament of Georgia, American Council of Young Political leaders and the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy. He has long been involved in youth activities. From 2008 to 2012 Tornike participated in around 25 local and international events of the European Youth Parliament and has actively contributed to the organization’s development in Georgia.
Florian Nowack, aged 23, is a student of International Business and Intercultural Studies” at Heilbronn University, active in the protestant youth organization in Germany, and a member of the Young Socialists (Jusos) in the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), representing the German National committee for international youth work (DNK) within the European Youth Forum.
Elise Zerrath, aged 26, is a graduate of International Relations and Geography at the University of St Andrews, and is active in the Model United Nations (MUNS) groups and member of the Young Union (Junge Union) of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU).
German Youth Delegate Website: www.youthdelegates.de
Ida Jóźwiak, aged 19, from Lublin, is the Polish Youth Delegate to the UN General Assembly 2013. She just graduated from Paderewski Private Grammar School and she will begin studying law at Jagiellonian University in Cracow. She is especially interested in European and international law, as well as in the multilateral partnership programmes, which reduce the obstacles preventing her compatriots from becoming global citizens and enable the empowerment of youth in general.
She participated in the sessions of the European Youth Parliament, Model United Nations and two European Union’s Lifelong Learning Programmes Comenius: “Together against violence and conflicts” and “Transversal competences: today’s solutions for tomorrow’s jobs”. She also volunteered in work camps organized by Service Civil International, where she was engaged in environment-saving actions and met people from all around the world. Those experiences, together with her passion for travelling, convinced her about the value of cross-cultural learning and non-formal education that she intends to promote at all levels. She would like to unleash young people’s collective power for change and foster their consciousness as active students, workers and members of society. In her leisure time she enjoys riding a bike, skiing, gymnastics, reading, learning languages, maintaining old friendships and making new ones.
Eliza Chirila, aged 21, from Romania, is one of the Romanian Youth Delegates to the UN General Assembly 2013. She studies Law at the Romanian- American University from Bucharest and is currently the President of the Students Council CS-URA. Furthermore, Eliza works for the Union of Romanian Students (USR), as head of the International Relations Department.
With an experience of more than 7 years in the field of volunteering, during the last year she has been involved in the national structured dialogue group and has actively participated in the public debates of the Romanian Youth Strategy. She has also been a member of the NGO called Leaders for The Third Millennium and has represented Romania in various European or International events such as: European Youth Parliament, Francophone Youth Parliament or European Youth and Sport Forum.
Besides being a youth worker, Eliza is also a trainer and until now she has delivered several training on topics such as project management or leadership. Moreover, she has been coordinating different regional or national conferences and workshops, with and for young people. The desire of empowering young people has lead her to the position of TV producer of a youth TV show that gave young people the chance to promote themselves and their projects.
As part of the Romanian Youth Delegation, Eliza hopes to represent in a professional way the interests and needs of the Romanian Youth, to get the chance of organizing various events under this mandate and to work together with youngsters from all over the world, in order to contribute to the achievement of the MDGs.
Cosmin Chiriță, aged 23, one of the two Romanian Youth Delegates to the United Nations, for the 2013-2014 mandate. He studies Law at the “Nicolae Titulescu” University and is currently Project Manager within the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile. Furthermore, Cosmin is the former First-Vice President of the UN Youth Association of Romania (UNYARo), taking part in its consolidation since its founding, 4 years ago.
With more than 7 years experience in the field of volunteering, during the last three years he has been involved in the national structured dialogue group and has actively participated in the public debates on the National Youth Strategy. In addition to that, he was member of the national Consultative Council on Youth Issues, within the Romanian National Authority for Youth and Sport.
Besides his youth work, Cosmin is also a trainer and until now he has delivered over 500 hours of training on topics such as leadership, project management, communication skills, organizational culture, teamwork and teambuilding, in front of over 1000 youth or adult trainees.
As part of the Romanian Youth Delegation, Cosmin aims to contribute to reinforcing Youth on the Romanian public agenda and to prioritizing Youth policies for the next several years. As objectives of his mandate, he hopes to represent in a professional and relevant way the interests and needs of the Romanian Youth, to raise awareness around the Program by organizing various events and to work together with youth from all over the world, in order to contribute to the achievement of the MDGs and to the establishment of an adapted post-2015 Agenda and proper SDGs.
Arielle Gahigi Mugwaneza, 23 years old, is one of the two UN Youth Delegates from Rwanda. Arielle has recently obtained her bachelor degree in Quantity Surveying at Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST). She was at different occasions elected to play leadership roles at her secondary school and university. In 2011, together with other Quantity Surveying students, they started the Rwanda Quantity Surveying students Association which has the purpose to promote their profession in Rwanda and contribute to the development of the construction field at large. She has worked as the vice chairperson of the Rwanda Quantity Surveying Students Association from 2011-2012. She is currently working in a construction consultation firm where she is building up skills in the field of Quantity Surveying.
As a youth activist, Arielle has been volunteering in different projects organized by the Rwandan National Youth Council, to facilitate and encourage youth to participate in socio-economic development and transformation to a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable society. She is also working with the World Alliance against Youth Unemployment as one of the team leaders and co-founders. The World Alliance against Youth Unemployment is an NGO that has an objective to help and motivate young people to create jobs and make their businesses succeed.
Jean Michel Habineza was born and raised in Rwanda. In 2006, as a secondary school student, Jean Michel initiated the “Walk for Survivors”, in remembrance of those who perished in the genocide, with more than 1000 students participating. In 2007, Jean Michel founded the Peace and Love Proclaimers, a youth NGO teaching underprivileged children about forgiveness and reconciliation. Beginning with 7 students, “PLP” is now one of the most promising and growing youth NGOs in Rwanda, with over 200 members.
Peace and Love proclaimers is known in Rwanda to have started the “Walk to Remember” which is an annual youth genocide commemorative walk that happens all over the world in april. In just 2013, the walk happened in 25 cities, 13 countries and 4 continents bringing together almost 50,000 people worldwide to remember the genocide in Rwanda to work at preventing future genocides.
In 2008, Jean Michel helped start Aegis Students, an international student movement against genocide based in the UK and featuring an active chapter in Rwanda. Jean Michel also served as an education officer at the Aegis Trust-sponsored Kigali Memorial Center. There he facilitated a workshop on the importance of recovering positive values lost during the genocide, for people with such values would never kill their countrymen. Jean Michel is also the program manager and co-founder of Idebate Rwanda (www.debaterwanda.org) which is a youth NGO that is using debate to change the lives of young Rwandans and East Africans. Idebate Rwanda gives students the tools they need to change their own world by teaching them how to think critically, how to solve problems creatively and how to impact their own society.
Chapa Perera is one of the two Sri Lankan Youth Delegates to the UN General Assembly.
Chapa is currently an undergraduate student at the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo in Sri Lanka. She emerged as the third highest in the arts stream from the entire island at her advanced level examinations. Ever since her school days, Chapa has represented Sri Lanka at various international platforms. Consequent to emerging as the Gold award winning Marketing Director at the Young Entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka Company Program held nationwide, Chapa and her team represented Sri Lanka at the Asian Pacific Young Entrepreneur Competition 2011, held in Hong Kong.
Chapa is an active member of the Moot Court and Debating Society of the Faculty of Law, and has represented Sri Lanka at several competitions held in India and Indonesia. She is also trained in Mediation and has displayed her skills at the Inaugural Dubai Invitational Mediation Competition, wherein her team won the award for the Most Outstanding Newcomer.
Chapa is also the co-founder and the editor-in-chief at the TAGGED teen magazine in Sri Lanka, which functions with the goal of providing a platform of education with entertainment to the youth of Sri Lanka. She is also involved with the Family Planning Association and the Save A Child from Sexual Abuse Organisation.
Chapa has further displayed her interest in youth activities through her involvement in the Sri Lanka Youth Parliament, wherein she functions as the Coordinating Minister for the Senate. She was recently appointed as a member of the International Youth Task Force for the World Conference on Youth and the Official Youth Delegate to the United Nations, representing Sri Lanka.
Adhil Bakeer Markar holds a bachelor of laws degree (LLB) from the University of London and is currently studying at Sri Lanka Law College for his attorneys exam in order to gain access to the bar. He also has diplomas in International Relations and Intellectual Property Law from the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies.
Adhil has been involved in many activities concerning youth in Sri Lanka since his young days. He was president of the Rotaract club of Colombo North during 2011/2012 and also the club’s International Understanding Director the year before. The club was adjudged as the most outstanding club of the year under his Presidency in Sri Lanka, recognizing the diverse nature of projects carried out. Adhil was part of the Sri Lankan delegation to the Future World Leaders Summit in 2009 held at the prestigious Georgetown university in Washington D.C.
Further he was the founder Secretary General of Youth Model United Nations 2011 which brought many youth across Sri Lanka and abroad to one platform in order to discuss global issues. Adhil is also part of the youth movement named connect Lanka which focuses on upliftment of youth on many avenues. He has also captained the under 11, 17 and 19 cricket teams of the respective schools he attended and was elected as the Most Popular International Schoolboy Cricketer for the year 2009 by Bata and the Sunday Times.
Sona Rashid, aged 21, is currently combining medical studies at the Karolinska Institute and a BSc in Business and Economics at Stockholm School of Economics (SSE). Throughout her teens, Sona has been politically active and fighting for human rights. She is very engaged in Save the Children and Save the Children Youth in Sweden, both locally and nationally. Today, she is involved with sustainable development – learning about it herself but also creating awareness and inspiring others. She was part of the project group for FOCUS:CSR, an international project within her Student Association, which conducted a Corporate Social Responsibility theme-week at the SSE, inaugurated by H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden, as well as a 2-week study trip to Brazil and the Rio+20 conference last year. Sona has lived in Sweden, Bulgaria and France and has seen that youth face similar problems in all of these countries, being the most vulnerable to political fluctuations, the most afflicted by unemployment, and the most disenfranchised and with the highest suicide-rates. Sona believes that the most important challenge at hand is to change people’s mindsets – both when it comes to realizing the necessity of sustainable development and when it comes to realizing the indispensability of youth in this process, and in general in society. This is going to be her mission at the 68th session of the UN General Assembly.”
Philine Frei, is the United Nations Youth Delegate of Switzerland 2013. Philine has recently finished her Bachelor’s degree in Medicine in Basel, Switzerland. Apart from her function as a UN Youth Delegate of Switzerland, she is currently acting as a board member of the United Nations Association of Switzerland (UNA Switzerland). Also, she is the former President of the United Nations Youth Association Switzerland, a national student organization with chapters at almost every Swiss university. In the last few years she has been strongly involved in the United Nations Youth Associations Network (UNYANET), an international organization connecting UN youth organizations from three different continents; and in other activities such as student representation at her university.
Bhunyanutch Kanjananon (Noot) is one of the four 2013 Thai youth delegates. She is currently a second year student studying Law at Mae Fah Luang University. She had been actively involved in extra-curricular activities, for example, being a volunteer at orphanages as well as the city’s local hospital. She also volunteered to teach nursery children English language at the community’s nursery school next to her high school. In addition, she helped other private sector organizations which are involved in fund raising for those with disabilities, and the children in the orphanage, to support their needs. She was also a scholar-student throughout her high-school years due to her CAS activities and academic performance. Her mother has encouraged her throughout her entire life to appreciate the importance of women’s role and gender-equality.
Kantheera Tipkanjanarat, from Bangkok, is a Youth Delegate of Thailand to the United Nations General Assembly. She is currently a second-year undergraduate student majoring in Economics and minoring in Finance at Thammasat University. Kantheera has a keen interest in international affairs and the work of international organizations. She has been actively involved in the Core Student Working Group of MY World Survey under the UN Millennium Campaign leading the On-Campus Committee to generate public awareness for post-2015 development agenda. As a devoted activist, she was awarded a Meritorious Award as a Student Councilor. During her secondary, she served as the Secretary to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Scholars’ Committee in Singapore for two years. In her free time, she volunteered to help out in various organizations such as Red Cross, Senior Citizen Health Centre and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
Patteera Chaladmanakul is a Thai Youth Delegate to the United Nations 2013. She is currently a senior year student of the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, majoring in English and minoring in Spanish. She has engaged in numerous extracurricular activities, especially during her past three years in the university. In 2012 and 2013, she was one among the initiative committees hosting the first Thai Undergraduate Humanities Symposium called “Chulalongkorn-Thammasat-Kasetsart Undergraduate Humanities Symposium” and the first “Arts Undergraduate Humanities Symposium” of the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, respectively. From March to May 2013, she joined the Disney International College Program at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, performing the role as a Disney cast member while internalizing the institution’s values. In 2012, she was a coordinator of the Humanities Town hosting several events for Chulalongkorn Academic Expo, the biggest academic fair of Chulalongkorn University held every four years. Her areas of interest are English literature, literary theories, and other humanities-related fields.
Peachaya Suviwattanachai (Peach), aged 20, is one of the four Thai Youth Delegates to the UN General Assembly 2013. She is currently in her last year as an undergraduate at Faculty of Commerce and Accountancy in Chulalongkorn University from Thailand. During her college studies, she earned various types of experience as an intern in a law firm at Baker and McKenzie and later at the Standard Chartered Bank. Even when she was in her international high school days, she participated in various community service groups such as Making a Difference and Tsunami Relief as well as practicing in Model United Nations (MUN) for several years. Recently due to the flood disaster in Thailand two years ago, she along with her friends set up a Flood relief campaign that connects with youth from top universities in England and East Coast of America to join hands and successfully renovated two schools that were completely destruct from this natural disaster. As a Thai Youth Delegate, Peachaya believes that education is a very important factor in improving standard of living and equality for all and as a woman herself, she also supports women’s rights and does consider that both topics are interconnected. For her, it is necessary for everyone to contribute in order to create solutions and opportunities for those who are underprivileged and that every initiative starts with youth.
Zehra Sariaslan, aged 23, from Harderwijk, is the Dutch youth delegate to the UN General Assembly 2013. She is currently completing a Master’s Degree in International and European Law at the Utrecht University. She specializes in human rights issues generally. Zehra is a youth delegate for almost a year now. Inspired by the life story of her grandmother her work as a Dutch Youth representative focuses mainly on Women’s Right. In this respect, she has represented the interests of the Dutch youth at the Commission on the Status of the Women last March. She considers the fundamental importance of the participation of women and youth in the world. Therefore, her main slogan is; “There can be no peace, no property, no progress without the full and equal participation of women and youth all over the world! To this regard, she has also taken part to the organization of several projects and activities linked to Women’s Rights and Youth Participation.
United States of America
Tiffany Taylor is from Gulfport, Mississippi. She graduated from the University of Chicago as a student marshal, the highest undergraduate academic honor, with majors in Political Science, Sociology, and Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies (Asian American Studies). During her undergraduate years, she founded two non-profits and studied and conducted research abroad in France, China, South Africa, South Korea, Zambia, and Tanzania. Her work experience includes having worked for the International Labour Organization as a Youth Journalist and also having completed internships at Google, Morgan Stanley, and Credit Suisse. Most recently, she was a Fulbright Fellow in Business Management in New Delhi, India where she conducted research on economic development and health issues. Tiffany spent this past summer working in Santiago, Chile on research related to the effects of Boron on women’s health. She is now studying for a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology and Global Health from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health on a fellowship from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.