Youth Together for a Sustainable Future

25 - 27 June 2021

09:30 AM - 3:15 PM EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)


Organized in cooperation with the DGC Civil Society Youth Representatives Steering Committee, UN-Habitat, Generation Next Network, and Vanguard Service Brigade Corp

Having become accustomed to the new normal, the world is now entering a new year. With new hopes, come the opportunity and the responsibility of creating a world young people can find their place in. Fresh leadership requires fresh thinking and perspectives. The Young Global Leaders Development Program aims at achieving just that. It will serve as a platform for young people to have conversations that will enable them to look ahead in the aftermath of the COVID19 pandemic.

The International Youth Conference 2021 intends the youth to be recharged, with better energy and momentum. The year ahead needs to start right, with the most important conversations, so that it ends right.



Why Youth Matter

Discussion organized by the DGC Civil Society Youth Representatives Steering Committee

27 June 2021,  9 - 10 a.m. EDT, Virtual

The world’s youth population, ages 15 to 29,  is estimated at 1.8 billion. This group makes up the majority of humanity,  yet oftentimes they are excluded from participating at various levels of family, community and institutional decision-making processes. Youth and young professionals bring fresh outlook and innovation to problem solving. As the inheritors of the planet, they are well positioned to incubate and unleash solutions to the pressing global challenges. It is, therefore, imperative that their concerns and voices be considered. 

Join us in a conversation that aims to make the case for engaging youth and young professionals as changemakers on global issues. Speakers will share their perspectives on why young people, from the different regions matter and are key to finding solutions to global challenges we face today. 



(Moderator) Hawa Diallo, Civil Society Unit, UN Department of Global Communications,  has extensive United Nations experience in public information outreach and fostering civil society partnerships, with a particular emphasis on youth and women’s organizations. Ms. Diallo began her United Nations career in 1987 in the Department of Public Information and has served in two United Nations Peacekeeping Operations in Cambodia and Somalia, respectively. She has also worked for the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat) in Nairobi, as an Associate Human Settlements Officer and as a Partners and Youth Officer. 




Kelly Roberts, Fordham University, is the assistant director of the Office for International Services at Fordham University. She serves as Fordham's main NGO representative at the United Nations as well as for NAFSA: Association of International Educators. She presents often on promoting partnerships with the United Nations and NGOs through university/youth engagement. She previously has served as chair of the youth subcommittee for the NGO/ UN Department of Public Information (DPI) Executive Committee Board; as well as co-chair; youth subcommittee of the conference planning committee for the annual UN DPI NGO conferences in France, Mexico City, Australia and Germany (2008-2011). She received her MS in Adult Education & Human Resource Management from Fordham University.



Sophia Holt, is a recent graduate of Lehigh University, receiving a Bachelors of Arts in International Relations and now works as an intern for the United Nations Department of Global Communications within the Civil Society Unit. Sophia has previous experience working with UN entities as the Lehigh University United Nations Partnership Intern. In this role, she worked with the former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Satya Tripathi, to create a virtual program addressing the topic of climate refugees, co-sponsored by two international universities. Additionally, she was a member of the leadership team tasked with hosting America’s first Model International Labour Organization (ILO) Conference. Sophia is passionate about the effects of climate change on the global population, forced migration, and conflict resolution. For Sophia’s scholarship, research, and passion for the subject, she received the 2021 Carey B. Joynt International Relations Leadership Award for Academic Excellence from the Lehigh University International Relations Department. Sophia plans to follow her passions by pursuing a J.D.  and working in the international field, with particular interests in diplomacy, international litigation, and immigration policy. 



Francis Koroma, from Sierra Leone, and serves as Youth Ambassador, C.E.O and Founder of FranTech3D, Podcast Host “Decade Goal and Your Voice Matters Talk.“ He is using my newly founded voice to not only inspire young people but also educate and encourage young people to move outside of their comfort zone.





Marlenis Rosa, Pathways to Peace, a Family Service Specialist for the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency. She specializes in investigating child abuse and neglect of children and linking them to the appropriate services. Marlenis believes that her purpose is to make a difference in others’ lives by creating a ripple effect with everyone she collaborates with. She believes that developing strong relationships is the foundation of everything she does, both professionally and personally. Paramount to her, are the fortuneless women and children she serves passionately in her community. She continues to address issues pertaining to women and children through the various roles that she performs as a member of Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority, Inc., a Representative of Pathways to Peace at the United Nations, a Civil Society Youth Representative Serving in the Youth Steering Committee of the United Nations Department of Global Communications.  Marlenis obtained a Violence Against Women Certificate from Rutgers University. She obtained a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a Certificate in Public Management and obtained a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from The College of New Jersey. Marlenis is a mother of two young children; enjoys spending time with them and introducing them to new experiences. She enjoys hiking with her family, working on DIY crafts and sharpening her leadership skills. 



Wantoe Teah Wantoe is Co-Founder of Youth Leader For Global Change  Youth Steering Member To The  UN Department of Global Communication Civil Society Unit Child Rights Advocate SDGs campaigner, and Climate and human right activist.