Civil Society Youth Representatives Steering Committee

Established in 2009, the Department of Global Communication’s Civil Society Youth Representatives Programme serves as an advocacy platform to bring together young people ages 18 to 32 working within and/or leading organizations that are in association with DGC and focused on issues on the agenda of the United Nations.
Leveraging the high visibility and strong impact of young people at the 66th United Nations DPI/NGO Conference in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea (30 May to 1 June), DGC (formerly DPI) established the Civil Society Youth Representative Steering Committee (thereafter referred to as the “Steering Committee”) in August 2016 to channel that momentum towards the strengthening of the Department’s youth platform and programmes.

The Civil Society Youth Representatives Steering Committee

  • features youth ages 18 – 32
  • Includes up to 25 Youth Representatives from civil society organizations formally associated with DGC
  • advises DGC on youth engagement for outreach and advocacy on global issues on the UN agenda

Current Members 

  • Ali Mustafa, Co-Chair, International Association for Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges
  • Rosleny Ubinas, Co-Chair, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'i of the US
  • Ashley (Yee Siang) Yong, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation
  • Joshua Alade, United Nations Association of Nigeria
  • Valentina Mendez, Northeastern University
  • Alexander Groce, Global Education Motivators
  • Eleftherios Dafermos, The Smile of the Child
  • Ourania (Rania) Papadopoulou, The Smile of the Child
  • Nipuna  Ambanpola, IVolunteer International Inc
  • Saffin Mathew, 1M1B Foundation
  • Michelle Leon, World Development Foundation
  • Rinor Jani, Pathways to Peace
  • Cairo  Eubanks, New Future Foundation International
  • Milka Rodriguez, South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation
  • Elizabeth Sullivan, Fordham University
  • Martin  Olavarrieta Maturana, Fundacion Cultural Baur
  • Estefania Malassisi, Asociación para el Cuidado de la Diabetes en Argentina - CUI.D.AR
  •  Priyadharshany (Priya) Sandanapitchai, The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI)
  • Thomas Alvarez, CGFNS International, Inc.
  • Wantoe Teah Wantoe, Sisters of Charity Federation
  • Anna Peverly, Public Private Alliance Foundation
  • Emily Evlieger, Altrusa International
  • Gayathri Menon, World Yoga Community Inc
  • Marlenis Rosa, Pathways to Peace
  • Taylor Dickerson, World Envangleical Alliance
  • Francisk (Franci) Milo-Sidlo,  Syrian Orthodox Church in America
  • Pilar Arrossagaray, Asociación para el Cuidado de la Diabetes en Argentina CUI.D.AR
  • Parker LaCourse, UNA-USA


Alumni (see here)


DGC Civil Society Youth Steering Committee 2020-2021


Rosleny Ubiñas
NGO: National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States​

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. 


Ali Mustafa

NGO: International Association for Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges, United States​

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.




Ashley Yong

NGO: Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, USA

Ashley is currently serving as the DGC youth representative to the UN of Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, and is the project coordinator of Tzu Chi’s aid project in the Republic of Sierra Leone. An advocate for climate action and environmental protection, Ashley works with other young people to build communities with responsible and sustainable lifestyles. Recognizing the urgency of climate issues and its interconnectedness to other global issues, she wishes to raise awareness and call for more actionable commitments by youth around the globe.



Joshua Alade

NGO:United Nations Association of Nigeria

Joshua is an education and decent work policy advocate who is passionate about positive youth development and sustainable community development. He is the Executive Director of the Nigeria Youth Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Network, a coalition of youth-led civil society organizations localizing the 2030 Agenda using storytelling, advocacy, leadership development and collaboration for community development. Through his work, he advocates for the rights of young people from disadvantaged communities and their active participation in the developmental agenda of his country.



Valentina Mendez

NGO: Student, USA

Valentina is a young Colombian woman passionate about social justice. She is a former United Nations intern, currently volunteering for the New England Association for Colombian Children (NEACOL). Her strong belief that digital communications can make a change in the tangible world is her main drive to make an impact in her community in topics regarding climate justice, women's rights, and equality.





Juan Pablo Celis Garcia

Juan Pablo Celis Garcia is a youth policy and climate advocate. He is currently Spokesperson of Education USA, a program of the United States Department of State. Juan  is an Adviser to the Youth Representatives Steering Committee of the United Nations Department of Global Communication, Civil Society Unit, where he was a founding member in 2016. He is a former Communications Associate for the United Nations Association of New York (UNA-NY). Juan served as Co-Chair of the Youth Subcommittee for the 66th United Nations DPI/NGO Conference on Education for Global Citizenship in South Korea. He is also a former Adviser to the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the United Nations at the third committee of the General Assembly on youth-related matters. Mr. Celis holds a B.A. in International Studies - Public Policy, Summa Cum Laude, and a Master of international Affairs. 




Annie Deng
The City College of New York, USA

Born in Beijing and raised in New York, Annie is a daughter of two grand metropolises, inheritor of two grand cultures. She counts both English and Chinese as mother tongues and enjoys reading, writing, and even acting in both languages.

She majored in International Studies, picked up a minor in Anthropology, and completed many credits in the sciences. She is a harmonic blend of the liberal arts, the sciences, and the social sciences. She is a hopeless perfectionist always involved in a hundred million projects at the same time. Annie has been a journalist since junior high school and has picked up a lot of experience in print, radio, TV, and new media. She is always passionate and curious, looking to help out whenever possible. 



Aishwarya Narasimhadevara
Medical Women’s International Association, Canada

Aishwarya is the youth representative to the Medical Women’s International Association, an NGO based in Vancouver, Canada, dedicated to the empowerment in the field of medicine. She is an individual wishing to make a difference in society like others. She is also involved in youth advocacy related projects and interested in the importance of Education in the field of International Development. She has been involved with various non-government organizations working in the field of education, the environment, and culture. She has a Master’s in International Development from the University of Kent-Brussels School of International Studies in Brussels, Belgium. Travelling is a passion of hers and she enjoys seeing new places. She also enjoys learning, taking photos, and practicing karate.


Madison Ross
Mercado Global, USA

Madison, an Californian born but internationally raised youth, is a member of DGC’s Youth Steering Committee and focuses on Responsible Consumption and Production in Business and Fashion Industry. Ross is an International Business student at LIM College with an interest in social change and cultural awareness, seeking opportunities in corporate social responsibility, economic development, and international relations. Madison is also a Youth Representative for fashion non-profit Mercado Global which is headquartered in Guatemala, working with female artisans and promoting Global Goals 1 and 4. Working with UN DGC Civil Society, Madison worked as a team member in organizing last year's UN Fashion Show. Such briefing hosted panelists to discuss the challenges in applying sustainability in the fashion industry and showcasing sustainable designers from all over the world.

Madison is also a proud Co-Chair of the Youth Sub-Committee for the 67th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference. Overall, she’s a lover of learning and helping businesses better impact the communities around them.



Steve Chiu
Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, USA

Steve is Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation’s Youth Representative at the United Nations. In alignment with Tzu Chi’s work in disaster relief, climate action, education for global citizenship, sustainable development​ and gender equality, Steve works to build relationships, share best practices and develop programs with other organizations to make tangible impacts on the ground, with the mission of alleviating the suffering of those in need. 





Earlene Cruz
Servas, USA

Besides serving as a Servas Youth Representative to the United Nations Department of Public Information, Earlene is the founder of - a platform that allows lay and professional cooks to host or participate in live, online, and interactive cooking classes that support SDG 2: Zero Hunger. She is a James Beard Scholar Award Winner and has been nominated as one of the special envoys on youth under the UN Secretary General for her work with the Zero Hunger Sustainable Development Goal.  She sits on the board of two nonprofits, promoting social entrepreneurship and peace through tourism. 

Earlene completed her Master's degree in Social Entrepreneurship and Food Studies at the Gallatin school of New York University. Her scholastic research focuses specifically on the power of food to unite and/or divide people. Her passion is for bringing people together, especially through (food) culture and the power that it has to (often) transcend conflict. Her previous work included supporting film and bilingual programs through the French Embassy in New York City. Her personal passion for bilingualism has led her to speak four languages, and is now learning her fifth: English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German. 


Jadayah Spencer
International Youth Leadership Institute (IYLI), USA

Jadayah Spencer is the Executive Director of the International Youth Leadership Institute (IYLI). She is an advocate for improving access to opportunities that enhance the lives of youth, people of African descent, and indigenous people worldwide.

A proud IYLI alumna, Jadayah became an IYLI fellow in 2010 and traveled on the 2011 Summer Fellowship Program to Tanzania. She subsequently served in various roles: as a volunteer, a board member, and a group leader (Brazil 2013, Senegal 2018, Senegal 2019).

She has served on several international and local boards, including her work as a Co-Chair of the UN DGC/CSO Youth Representative Steering Committee, and on the New York City Young Women’s Advisory Council which addresses policy issues that directly affect young women of color in New York City, and which has received $20 million in funding to implement policy recommendations.


Alpha Diallo
ENDA, Senegal

Alpha was born and raised in Conakry, Guinea.  As a result, he brings with him an abundance of first-hand experiences. Alpha is currently enrolled at SUNY Old Westbury, where he studies Political Economy & Law. He received an Associate’s degree in Fine Art from Fulton-Montgomery Community College in 2014. 

Since 2011, Alpha has worked with Grow NYC, an initiative that seeks to improve the quality of life for New Yorkers through sustainability.  Alpha is involved in youth education and sales. Alpha is particularly passionate about impacting change in his native Africa, as well as engaging with Africans living in diaspora. He speaks Fulani, Creole, French, and English. He aspires to become a diplomat in the future and cites his motivation as his interaction with UN personnel when studying in Sierra Leone as a child. 



Katelyn Grano
Pathways to Peace, USA

Katelyn is a recent graduate of Mater Dei Prep High School in Middletown, New Jersey. Her college plans include attending Marist College of Poughkeepsie, New York in the fall, with a double major in international business and environmental studies. She has a strong background in conflict resolution and transformation as well as in mediation and negotiation. Her training has been through Mr. George Anthony (Pathways to peace). Additionally, she has a diplomatic training background in conflict resolution as well as Weapons against poverty, through Columbia Law School. Her efforts have mainly been focused on the improvement of education in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. She is pursuing her career in the field of international business and Environmental Studies working towards attending law school after college. Aside from her work with the United Nations, Katelyn is highly involved with the environment and its sustainability while also aiming to resolve global issues and create peaceful encounters and dialogues.


Xiaome (Shermin) Luo
Global Youth Mentorship Initiative, USA

Shermin is a NGO Youth Representative to UN DPI and a newly elected member of the NGO Youth Representatives Steering Committee to the Department of Public Information. She has extensive experience in social entrepreneurship having co-founded a an education nonprofit Global Youth Mentorship Initiative (GYMI), which is dedicated to bridging educational disparities by providing underprivileged students with mentorship focused on independent learning, interdisciplinary studies and critical thinking. In addition, Shermin also served as the COO for a social venture Ipromoter Image, which is an AI-powered personal fashion assistant that helps professional women in developing countries dress for success. She was recognized as a rising social entrepreneur by organization such as the Resolution Project, Young Real Leader Prize, and Impact Squared.

Shermin graduated with a B.S. in Operations Research - Engineering Management System from Columbia University, and is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.


Sharon Pierre-Louis
Environment Development Action in the Third World (ENDA), USA

In addition to practical experiences, Sharon uses her educational background in Sociology, Pre-Law, and Global Studies to empower, and advocate for, individuals. She conducted research on dozens of topics including education, and presented her findings nationally and internationally. For years, she has mentored, tutored, advised, supervised, and assisted hundreds of diverse youth. She has initiated the creation of a policy at her alma mater which enabled/s students to join academic and residential programs. She currently teaches high school students with a goal of improving their grades. She aspires to become a Diplomat and a Lawyer in the future. She is determined, multilingual, enjoys learning new languages, and composes creative writing pieces-mainly on social issues.

Sharon was a rapporteur for the Intergenerational Dialogues on the SDGs in 2017. She currently serves as a Co-chair for the Exhibits Sub-committee for the 67th UN DPI/NGO Conference.



Saphira Rameshfar
Baha'i International Community’s UN Office in New York, USA 

Saphira is a Representative of the Baha'i International Community’s UN Office in New York. Saphira currently serves on the Executive Committee of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women in New York, as Secretary of the Working Group on Girls to the UN and on the DPI NGO Youth Steering Committee to the United Nations Department of Public of Information. In 2016, Saphira was the Cochair of the Conference Planning Youth Sub-committee to the 66th UN DPI/NGO Conference in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea.



Johanna Schwarz
DMUN e.V., Germany

Johanna is a Youth Representative to the German NGO DMUN e.V., which she led as Vice President and Head of NGO Liaison between 2015 and 2017 and where she currently serves as Special Advisor on UN-related issues. Next to her work with DMUN, Johanna is a passionate advocate for youth participation, quality education, gender equality, leadership development and climate change and frequently speaks on the youth perspective on the SDGs at national and international conferences. She is involved in various think-tanks and non-governmental organizations and recently got elected as one of 25 members to participate in a think-tank on youth participation in Europe, initiated by the European Commission. 

Johanna graduated with a Master's in Environmental Policy and Regulation from The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in London, United Kingdom in 2017 and hopes to do her part in tackling climate change by working in the field of renewable energies, innovation management and sustainability consulting. 


Alex Zheng
Global Youth Mentorship Initiative, USA

Alex is a undergraduate student studying Business and Technology Management in New York University, minoring in Business Studies and Computer Science. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Alex spent time growing up both in Hangzhou, China and Princeton, New Jersey.
Alex currently serves as a Youth Representative to United Nations for Global Youth Mentorship Initiative. Since joining GYMI in 2016, Alex focused on sustainable education and culture exchange for underprivileged youth in developing nations. He led a team of ten teachers in China for the GYMI summer program in 2017, providing education on subjects that are unique to the target students. Alex also served as a member of the Youth Sub-Committee for the 67th UN DPI NGO conference in 2018. 
As a member of the Youth Steering Committee, Alex strives to promote culture & social exchanges for youth around the world.


Subhajit Saha
NGO: Dayemi Foundation, Bangladesh

Subhajit is currently an undergraduate student majoring in Political Science and Biochemistry at the City University of New York – Hunter College. In addition, he serves as the NGO Youth Representative to the United Nations DPI for the Dayemi Foundation.

Currently, his latest projects involve serving as a Co-Chair for the Outreach and Publicity Sub-Committee for the Intergenerational Dialogues on the Sustainable Development Goals. As a member of the Committee, he advises the United Nations Department of Public Information on its engagement of young people working within NGOs and youth-leading organizations focused on the issues of the United Nations’ agenda. As a champion for storytelling through social media, he leads the Social Media Working Group for the DPI NGO Youth Representatives Programme. His team is currently working on a strategy for the Together Campaign (#JoinTogether), which aims to promote safety, dignity, and respect for all refugees, migrants, and internally displaced persons.
Subhajit has been involved with the United Nations since his junior year of high school. He is an active DPI NGO Youth Representative and has participated in planning the 66th Department of Public Information/Non-Governmental Organization (DPI/NGO) Conference in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea. Subhajit has served as a member in the Youth Sub-Committee and led the Media and Marketing division in the Committee. Continuing the success of DPI/NGO Conference, Subhajit’s latest project involves revamping the Youth Programme at DPI NGO while serving as the Secretary in the DPI NGO Youth Steering Committee to further the communication and advocacy of youth participation at the United Nations. 

When Subhajit is outside the United Nations, he loves to read articles from The Economist, brush up on his foreign language skills, and mentor youth to become the leaders of today. 


Aniqah Zowmi
NGO: Unspoken Smiles Foundation, USA

Aniqah has a passion for youth engagement at all levels of government and civic organization. She is a Member of the Youth Advisory Group to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO), through which she provides youth perspectives to support CCUNESCO’s mandate. Her involvement with Rotary includes her participation in the Rotary Youth Leadership Award program in Rotary District 7090, as a speaker at the Rotary International Annual UN Day in November 2016, and currently as the Charter Vice-President of the Rotaract E-Club of Social Innovators.

Aniqah most recently completed a term as Lead Author for the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education and Peace for Sustainable Development’s publication, #YouthWagingPeace: Youth-Led Guide on Preventing Violent Extremism through Education, which was launched at the UNESCO Annual General Meeting in Paris, France, in November 2017. Zowmi is pursuing a Master of Arts in Social Justice and Equity Studies at Brock University, to be completed in December 2018.


Ruth Brinkley
NGO: New Future Foundation, INC, USA

Ruth, also known as Hip Hop artist Infinite Wiz, was the Youth Representative for New Future Foundation, INC a NGO founded by Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely, Community Mayor of Harlem. She is an active community activist and has been a part of the Hip Hop industry since an early age, as her father was signed to Sugar Hill Records in the 70's. Her message is both positive and inspirational geared toward youth of today.



Nishat Mirza
NGO: Voices of Bangla

Nishat Mirza, a New Yorker originally from Bangladesh, currently working as a Spokesperson for Columbia University School of Public Health’s COVID19 research. She is a News Correspondent for Turkish Journal, located at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

She graduated from Boston University School of Medicine, with a Masters in Medical Sciences. After graduation, she started working in Clinical Epidemiology at Harvard Medical School, recently completing a two-year project to find the risk factors of a skin infection outbreak. Throughout these endeavors, Nishat grew increasingly concerned about the impacts of climate change on the spread of diseases. Dedicated to public service and making a difference in people’s lives, Nishat has a decade of experience working with people from various ethnic backgrounds as an educator, leader and entrepreneur.





Members of the DGC Civil Society Youth Representatives Steering Committee can be contacted for speaking engageements via email address undgccso(at) with an indication of the name of the addressee.