Young activists from New York participate in Youth Dialogue at the UN General Assembly

The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) is a global nonprofit organization representing and coordinating a membership of over 100 national United Nations Associations.
Youth activists from Integrate NYC and Cyphers for Justice at the UN
Youth activists from Integrate NYC and Cyphers for Justice at the UN
Wednesday, May 30, 2018

On 30 May 2018, the President of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Miroslav Lajčák, hosted a Youth Dialogue in the ECOSOC Chamber. This one-day event sought to bring young people closer to the UN and vice versa while also gaining a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities youth face on a day-to-day basis. The event focused on three main themes: listening to young people, bridging education and skills training with employment in the 21st century, and the prevention of violent extremism.  

Cyphers for Justice and Integrate NYC, two local youth-serving organizations that WFUNA collaborates with, also participated in the event. Cyphers for Justice works with Columbia University’s Institute for Urban and Minority Education. They apprentice inner-city youth as critical researchers through the use of participatory action research, hip-hop, spoken word, and digital literacy. Integrate NYC works for integration and equity in NYC schools. They also advocate for young people’s involvement in decision making at local, city, state, and federal levels. 

The day was divided into five parts. The first half of the day included the opening remarks and two panel discussions. The first panel discussion focused on quality education for youth and how that translates with todays’ employment system while the discourse of the second panel included preventing radicalization and the factors of violent extremism.

The first discussion was moderated by Jamira Burley and included Shamoy Hajare, Founder of Jamaica School for Social Entrepreneurship, Safaath Ahmed Zahir, Founder of Women and Democracy, and Mohamed Sidibay, Peace activist, Global Partnership for Education. This panel of entrepreneurs emphasized the importance of young people receiving quality education. Through quality education, the speakers encouraged young people to create their own employment opportunities.

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The second discussion was moderated by Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. The dialogue centered around preventing radicalization. The participants of the panel were Joy Bishara, a student at Southeastern University, Dr. Siniša Vuković, assistant professor for the Conflict Management Program and Global Policy Program at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced Studies, and Farea Al-Muslimi, Co-founder and Chairman of Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies.

The second portion of the day featured an open mic session and closing remarks. The open mic session gave participants the opportunity to speak and reflect on topics significant to them. People came from all over the globe to share their ideas, projects, and potential solutions. The Youth Dialogue provided young people with an opportunity to directly engage with the United Nations and also allowed the UN to hear from the youth on important issues. This event serves as a part of the ongoing efforts the UN has been making in recent years to increase meaningful engagement of youth in the UN system.

Learn more about the event here.

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