Briefing is organized in cooperation with the DGC Civil Society Youth Representatives Steering Committee
21 January 2020
9:30 - 11:15 a.m. EST
Introduction and Welcome
A Conversation on the Intersection of Climate Change and Human Rights
Voices of Youth in Action Addressing Inequalities
Social Inequalities and Racial Injustice
Ramu Damodaran is Deputy Director for Partnerships and Public Engagement in the United Nations Department of Public Information’s Outreach Division and is chief of the United Nations Academic Impact initiative, which aligns institutions of higher learning and research with the objectives of the United Nations and the States and peoples who constitute it. He is also the current secretary of the United Nations Committee on Information. His earlier posts with the Organization have included the Departments of Peacekeeping and Special Political Questions, as well as the Executive Office of the Secretary-General.
Ramu Damodaran has been a member of the Indian Foreign Service, where he was promoted to the rank of Ambassador, and where he served as Executive Assistant to the Prime Minister of India as well as in the diplomatic missions in Moscow and to the United Nations, and in a range of national governmental ministries. He has been actively involved in mass media in India, including print, radio and television, and was a recipient of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union award for the best radio documentary.
Ali is a youth development professional who brings with him over 13 years of experience as a human rights advocate and a youth mobilizing force. He has worked with numerous multilateral organizations in various capacities and has developed programs on youth and gender. He founded GNVOY in 2009. In his role with UNFPA, he engaged with a group of university students to present youth mobilization programs to various targeted communities and was able to enroll 2,500 youth in the program with their constant feedback. He led ‘I Own Karachi’ in Pakistan, a movement to encourage volunteerism amongst youth. With the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, Ali’s role has been of developing partnerships for youth inclusion in UN programs, while simultaneously working as Co-chair for the Youth Sub-committee of the 68th UN Civil Society Conference. He is currently serving as the Youth Representative to the UN Department of Global Communications and Director of Generation Next, a movement aiming to create momentum on the Youth Climate Compact adopted at the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference. Ali holds a Master’s degree in International Relations and is a PhD candidate in Political Science.
Since the age of nine, Wantoe has championed the rights of women and children and has been one of Liberia’s prime faces for global sustainability and youth development. He is a passionate and dedicated young man driven by social causes. His listening and communication skills allow him to influence and mobilize young people, his community and decision makers. He is compassionate, always interested in other people’s views, and shimmering on how he can lead his life to improve the lives of others. His Leadership and commitment to solving deep systemic change is not hidden. Wantoe is a consistent voice at articulating policy prescription for the plethora of crises in Liberia. Evidence of his impeccable leadership and commitment to solving societal issues, Wantoe was awarded as a 2020 Friend of Humanity Distinguished Alumni Award Distinguished Alumni Award by the Friendship Ambassador Foundations. In June, he was awarded by a US college in New York, College of Mount Saint Vincent, The Vincent De Paul Award for his contribution to global enlightenment, student’s consciousness and systemic change. He is a certified 2019 Obama Foundation Leadership Asset and Dialogue Alumni. In addition, a 2019 Princess Diana Award Recipient Princess Diana Award Recipient, A 2018 Global Young Voices SDGs Champion Winner SDGs Champion Winner And a 2017 FAF Humanitarian Impact Winner Humanitarian Impact Winner among several recognitions. These recognitions landed with numerous impacts in resolving world issues that require his critical leadership skills, teamwork and a deep sense of humanity.
Law Degree by the Anahuac University (Mexico) (2014-2019); Studying Masters in Environmental Law (2020-2021);
Active member of Fundacion Cultural Baur since 2008; Intern of Director Maria Luisa Chaves DPI-NGO, now DGC (2011)
Participated at the Day of Peace in the United Nations and gave the Speech Child Soldiers and a Solution Created by Art and Hope.
Advisor of the CEO of the Federal Commission of Electricity (Government owned Company) (2014-2019)
Elected as Secretary General and President of the Law Student Society of Anahuac University (2014-2015 and 2015-2016)
Elected Secretary General and President of Phi Delta Phi Honor Society, Chapter Anahuac University (2016-2018)
Founding Member and Acting President of the Youth Civil Society organization: Mexican Youth Force (2017-present)
Participated at the 8vo University Scholars Leadership Symposium at the UN in Bangkok Thailand
Ran for Candidate of the Party PRI to be one of the twelve Counselors of the Mayor of the County Miguel Hidalgo in Mexico City (2018)
Participated in the Forum of the Civil Society of the United Nations in Salt Lake City (2019)
Participated at the Youth Climate Action Summit in NY (2019)
Coordinator of the First Diploma on the High Level Political Forum, the Climate Action Summit and the SDGs (2020)
Teacher at Colegio Carol Baur “World Affairs- We have a Dream for a Sustainable Future” (2020)
DGC Youth Representatives Steering Committee (2021)
Milka Rodriguez is a Dominican American who is passionate about economic development and environmental sustainability initiatives and how they affect marginalized and disadvantaged communities. She has a Master's degree in Sustainability in the Urban Environment from CUNY The City College of New York. At the NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability (MOS) she performs stakeholder engagement and conducts neighborhood needs assessments to improve a building energy efficiency program that will provide technical and financial assistance to building owners to help them save money on energy expenses and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Also, she oversees an internship program connecting college students to jobs in the energy sector and does research on increasing workforce education and underrepresented business participation in energy and construction procurement. Moreover, she serves as a Youth Representative and member of the Youth Steering Committee at the UN Department of Global Communications. She was appointed as a member of the youth and intergenerational committee of the Global NGO Executive Committee engaging global NGO's with issues at the forefront of the UN agenda. In the past, she worked at the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation and NY Women's Chamber of Commerce providing minority and woman owned business enterprises access to financing, strategic business development, markets, and contracts. Also, she worked with WE ACT for Environmental Justice, a nonprofit, leading a clean heat and energy campaign in Northern Manhattan in coordination with MOS which helped the City surpass sulfur emissions reductions goals.
Rashide holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Affairs by ITAM in Mexico City and a Master in Public Administration in Energy and the Environment by Columbia University in NYC. She is certified as Change Leader -Business for SDG by VATI of Sweden, and trained in Carbon Markets by MexiCO2 and the Circular Economy by the University of California Berkeley.
She has over 8 years of experience working on energy, the environment, education and sustainable development in the academia, civil society organizations and both the public and private sectors, in institutions such as the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission, Wood Mackenzie, Columbia Center for Global Energy Policy, Sustainable Energy Solutions, EnerAB and the Alberto Baillères Foundation. She is one of two founding partners of Nuwa Soluciones Sostenibles, a consulting firm focused on 2030 Agenda, the Circular Economy, Climate Change and Management Systems, underpinned by gender perspective, human-centered design and systems thinking principles.
Rashide has participated in the design and implementation of the regulatory framework of the Mexican electricity sector, as well as in clean energy project portfolio purchase-sales agreement analysis and development in Mexico. She has also developed photovoltaic energy and battery storage mini-grid projects for community centers in the Caribbean, and in diagnostics and roadmaps for incorporating the gender perspective in clean energy access policies for the Economic Community of West Africa States and the African Union. Her consulting projects also include helping food and drink, technology and energy companies mainstream the 2030 Agenda into their strategies and operations, finding circular economy solutions for plastics and designing circular economy roadmaps for cities.
Saffin Mathew heads the youth programs at the 1 Million for 1 Billion Foundation (1M1B), a 501c3 non-profit organization with special consultative status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications.
Saffin has conceptualised and manages the AI Youth Skills & AI Youth Labs program for 1M1B which aims to accelerate the UN SDGs by activating youth to create AI powered solutions. He has developed the AI for Good curriculum for high school students to introduce them to the world of AI and excite them to use AI to build projects to impact their community positively. He has trained over 6000 youth in Future Skills and Artificial Intelligence and over 120 AI powered projects are being mentored for prototype development. He has presented this work at the Activate Impact Summit at UN, New York in December 2019.
Saffin also manages 1M1B’s flagship program, the Future Leaders, a program for finding world’s most promising youth leaders and nurturing them to become human-centred leaders who prioritize human values and morals over profits and numbers. Top students from the program are given an opportunity to showcase their impact at the annual 1M1B Activate Impact Summit at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Saffin manages 1M1B’s relationship with key partners like the UN and under his leadership 5 such annual summits have been organised at the UN.
Lakshya believes in the power of youth to create an inclusive and sustainable world where no one is left behind. He cares for people in the rural areas and in the 680,000 villages of India, with a dream for them to be happy and healthy with decent work.
As a 16-year-old, Lakshya has been working for the past 4+ years on several initiatives to provide equal opportunities for the youth.
His initiative Igniting Dreams focuses on providing equal opportunities for youth from underserved communities and rural areas through micro internships and providing them safe spaces to choose happy careers. Lakshya has had the opportunity to speak at TEDx and at the United Nations headquarters on igniting dreams. In the year 2018 he was the youngest speaker at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank annual meetings held in Bali, Indonesia.
As a Co-founder of Rural COVID Warrior, Lakshya is making rural India COVID-19 ready and to fight the bigger pandemic of fake news and discrimination through his interactive animation curriculum, which covers important facts and information about covid-19 in a simple manner through no dialog animation based content and videos. His COVID initiative was widely covered by credible news channels such as India Today TV, NDTV and the New Indian Express. He was also the recipient of Better India's COVID soldier award.
Harshada RB and Maliha Fathima are high school students from Bengaluru, India who are advocates for Sustainable Menstruation and Menstrual Equity.
They identified a huge problem faced by women healthcare workers during the pandemic - the difficulty of spending long hours in PPE kits for menstruating women. This has widened the gender inequality that is already prevailing. Through their initiative, the girls are helping Female Frontline Workers menstruate comfortably and sustainably through their long working hours battling the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Through their project, Project RUTU, the 2 teenage girls are also promoting sustainable menstrual practices to protect the environment. During the course of their journey, they have held over 14 webinars for women of different ages and backgrounds, raised funds for supplying 1000 cloth pad kits to underprivileged women and impacted over 1500 women while distributing 720 menstrual cups.
A native of Sri Lanka, Nipuna Ambanpola is the Founder & Executive Director of IVolunteer International, a 501(c)3 tech-nonprofit organization in the United States. As Executive Director, Nipuna joins a variety of global coalitions and agencies to advocate for and increase volunteer awareness, volunteer mobility, and impact. Nipuna is a TEDx speaker, a program advisor at Humanitarian Affairs Asia, and a Rotaractor. Nipuna is also a member of the United Nations Department for Global Communications Youth Steering Committee.
Diego Mauricio Benitez comes from Quito, Ecuador. Diego is the Executive President for Fundacion Vista Para Todos, Foundation Eye Sight For Everyone.He received the academic degree of Bachelor of General Resources Management. The Founder of the Foundation Eye Sight for all, which is an institution of social aid that has obtained aid in Ecuador and other countries like Egypt, Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia; In Ecuador he has managed to donate over 511,817 eyeglasses, 52,811 wheelchairs, and contract two ophthalmological hospitals.
Bruce Knotts was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia, worked for Raytheon in Saudi Arabia (1976-80) and on a World Bank contract in Somalia (1982-4), before he joined the Department of State as a U.S. diplomat in 1984. Bruce had diplomatic assignments in Greece, Zambia, India, Pakistan, Kenya, Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire and The Gambia, where he served as Deputy Chief of Mission. While in Cote d’Ivoire, Bruce served as the U.S. Government’s Regional Refugee Coordinator for West Africa. Bruce worked closely with several United Nations Special Representatives and observed UN peacekeeping operations in Sierra Leone from 2000-2003. Bruce retired from the Foreign Service in 2007 and began directing the Unitarian Universalist Association Office at the United Nations (UU@UN) in 2008. Bruce founded faith-based advocacy for sexual orientation/gender identity human rights at the United Nations and continues to advocate for the rights of women, indigenous peoples and for sustainable development in moral terms of faith and values. Bruce is frequently invited to speak on various topics at venues around the world including recently in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, Republic of Korea, Ghana, The Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Bruce is adjunct faculty at New York University teaching a senior policy course on refugees and migration for Master of Social Work (MSW) students. Bruce is co-chair of the NGO Committee on Human Rights at the United Nations, the chair of the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security, a member of the NGO Security Council Working Group, and he chaired the NGO/DPI Executive Committee (2015-19) representing DPI (now DGC) affiliated NGOs at the United Nations. Bruce is a trustee of the Parliament of the World’s Religions and serves as the co-moderator of the steering committee of Religions for Peace, USA. He is a Commissioner for the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation. In 2006, Bruce Knotts and Isaac Humphrie were wed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Isaac works internationally as a venue manager for New York Fashion Week, event environmentalist, photographer and social media consultant.
Representative Scott began serving Kentucky House District 41 in January 2017. She currently serves on the Education; Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs; and Natural Resources & Energy Committees.
Representative Scott was a featured "Daughter of Greatness" at the Muhammad Ali Center, graduated from the Bingham Fellows Class of Leadership Louisville, is a Courier-Journal Forum Fellow, and was featured in “People to Watch” in Louisville Magazine.” Representative Scott was honored with the Ms. Foundation for Women “Woman of Vision” Award, is on the Essence Magazine list of #Woke100 women in the United States, and Higher Heights for America’s Chisholm List of 20 Sisters to Watch. Her proudest accomplishment is being a mom to Advocate and Ashanti.
Rinu Oduala is an Human Rights advocate focused primarily on issues of equity, justice, humanity and community advancement.
Spurred by police brutality in Nigeria and beyond, Rinu has become a key player in the work to confront the systems and structures that have led to mass incarceration and police killings of Nigerians.
She has been nominated for CAHR Aminu Kano award for Leadership, 2020, part of NBCWashington 31 Women creating a positive impact in Africa, one of BBC Nigerian Women Leading the Fight for Change, a Fellow at AdamStart Africa Creative Activism Cohort.
65 years serving Mexican Education
Doctor ́s degree in Education
Pedagogics Professor at Schools for Teachers
Member of the Honorable World Education Academy
Member of the Bonner Verin für Jugendförderung E.V.F. (B.V.J.) (Association to Promote Youth in the City of Bonn)
Author of the book “Living the Knowledge.Neurologic Stimulation”.
Recognized as the 1st. Mexican Educative System in Europe (Venice, Italy)
Cairo Eubanks is the Youth Representative for the UN DPI New Future Foundation International (NFFI). In addition to being the UN Youth Representative for NFFI, she represents them as a 2020-2021 UN DGC Youth Steering Committee Member. She is also the Global Correspondent for Global Oved Dei Seminary and University (GODSU), an interfaith e-learning institution. Her portfolio has taken her to Jamaica, Brazil, Morocco, Senegal, and Azerbaijan.
Ms. Eubanks is the CEO of CairoSpeaks/CairoWrites, LLC., a consulting firm which specializes in executive coaching and enhancing both interpersonal communication skills and executive writing. CairoSpeaks offers speech coaching sessions, as well as leadership development programs for emerging and established leaders. CairoWrites offers ghostwriting to busy international leaders and business executives.
Michelle is currently a Political Science major at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and works as an intern for the World Development Foundation. As being apart of the foundation she also plays a role in the subcommittee for the NGO Reporter. Michelle first became apart of the UN at 15 years old, when she spoke at the 2016 Youth Assembly as an Ecuadorian youth advocate for the work she had been doing during the 2016 Ecuadorian earthquake. She then went on to win two international pageant titles where she dedicated her platform to peace-building by promoting Goal #16 of the Sustainable development goals. In the past years, she worked with Foundation Eye Sight for Everyone to donate thousand of wheelchairs and eye sight surgeries to those in dire need of help in Ecuador. She has a passion for equality, human rights, and maintaining peace. With many years of experience in public speaking, she hopes to graduate this upcoming year and further her career in International Relations.
Rosleny joined the United Nations Office in August 2017. One of her roles is to explore ways youth can contribute to the betterment of society by working with non-governmental organizations and other youth advocates on issues such as racial inequality, advancement of women, and the role of religion in society. Her previous work experience includes adolescent counseling along with development for academic and non-profit organizations. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Africana Studies from Franklin & Marshall College.
Rosleny was part of the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women Conference Planning Committee by serving on the Artisan Fair sub-committee and Reception sub-committee. Rosleny is the Youth Cochair of the Conference Planning Social Media Sub-committee to the 67th UN DPI/NGO Conference in New York, NY.