Youth at the Symposium

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 representatives in Beijing, China (WFUNA 2011)
Youth representatives in Beijing, China (WFUNA 2011)

Back to Youth Home >> Youth Stories >> Peace and Security Youth Resources


Five of our youth representatives from UNAs around the world joined our R2P Program Officer in Beijing to participate in the Second Dag Hammarskjold Symposium. The symposium was held in collaboration with the Embassy of Sweden in Beijing, the Research Center for the United Nations and International Organizations (Beijing Foreign Studies University), and UNA-China.

We asked these youth representatives on our blog to share their experiences and thoughts on R2P.



Mary Davies-Colley, UNA-NZ

Personal report by Mary Davies-Colley, originally submitted to UNA-NZ 

Personal Report [PDF]

What did you know about R2P and conflict prevention prior to attending the symposium?

I have been interested in the topic of conflict prevention and R2P since the norm was first brought to my attention during my second year of University in a class called ‘Conflict Analysis’. When I first learned of the norm it seemed so obvious to me that the international community should intervene in such situations; I think this initial reaction naturally stems from the feeling that if we ourselves found ourselves in the midst of a humanitarian crisis we would want somebody to do something about it, to protect us.

However, as my intellectual understanding matured I realised that unfortunately, it wasn’t as simple as that. The symposium contributed to my understanding of the imperatives for intervention and also the challenges that plague intervention and the legitimacy of R2P. I would also like to express my gratitude to more experienced members of my UNA (UNANZ) for forwarding me some very interesting articles and materials to read in preparation for the Symposium.

What did you learn about R2P after the Symposium? Did your opinions on R2P involvement by countries or the UN change in any way?

I learnt a lot from the Symposium, more than I could possibly express in 150 words. I found the examples of lessons learned from past conflicts particularly interesting, the fact that the international community has learned after the war in Kosovo the importance of UNSC mandates for legitimacy of intervention. Now, after Libya there is an evident need for accountability and Security Council oversight of interventions. Hearing from experts about the evolution of R2P was very valuable and I think it provided a good platform for discussion and thought about how progress and broader consensus might be achieved in this area.

Is your UNA or youth association involved with R2P activities? What are some ways in which you are going to highlight or promote awareness of R2P?

In New Zealand both UNANZ and UN Youth NZ will be involved in promoting public awareness of New Zealand’s bid for a seat on the Security Council in 2014. These activities and discussions will necessarily involve R2P-related topics as we explore what New Zealand might contribute as a member of the Security Council.

You can send Mary an email to learn more about her work in New Zealand and her thoughts on R2P.

Sumit Ghimiray, UNYSA-Nepal, Vice-PresidentSumit Ghimiray, UNYSA-Nepal

What did you know about R2P and conflict prevention prior to attending the symposium?

I had some knowledge about Responsibility to Protect and conflict prevention before attending the symposium. “Responsibility to Protect” is a new concept and is gaining ground in the international community in relation to the protection of human rights, human dignity, and saving the general people from atrocity and repression from state actors. I am of the opinions that if the international community does not come rescue the general people, the general have to suffer a lot from the hands of repressive governments. I know about conflict prevention as these days many States and International Organization have been trying their best to prevent conflict in many countries of the world.

What did you learn about R2P after the Symposium? Did your opinions on R2P involvement by countries or the UN change in any way?

It was my pleasure to attend the symposium and I must say it was very learning experience. I learnt a lot about R2P and conflict prevention. The documents received in the symposium were also very useful. The other source that I learnt from is from the active participation of the delegates and the audience present

I learnt about the importance of R2P in the context of the present day realities. R2P is a humanitarian effort. It is a very powerful tool in the hands of the international community to ensure human rights universally across the globe. R2P is a vital tool in the endeavor to protect human rights and  a set of procedural guidelines in its application would further strengthen it.

Is your UNA or youth association involved with R2P activities? What are some ways in which you are going to highlight or promote awareness of R2P?

UNA Nepal is keenly interested in promoting R2P in Nepal through enhancing awareness about it among the intellectuals, UNA activists and youths of Nepal. UNA Nepal has planned to hold a 2 day seminars on R2P in Nepal in the near future in consultation with WFUNA.

If you have questions for Sumit, you can send him an email. Sumit is also a member of the WFUNA Youth Advisory Group for 2011-2012.

Amalya Grigoryan, AUNAAmalya Grigoryan, AUNA

Amalya and the UNA have established a R2P Division for Youth that is also on Facebook. You can also send Amalya an email to learn more about R2P and the work AUNA is doing with R2P in Armenia!

Civil Society Institute Article [pdf]

What did you know about R2P and conflict prevention prior to attending the symposium?

I am honored to be the R2P National Coordinator in Armenia since April, 2011.  For a citizen living in Armenia and in South Caucasus the priority of Conflicts Prevention and Conflicts Resolution are very usual, but at the same time very important things. I am pretty sure that each active member of Civil Society not only thinks but also acts for Conflict Resolution and dialogue serving for development.

During the Project implementation, I should think about these priorities not only from Armenian point of view, but R2P orders global approach.  R2P is an international norm which relocates the roles of the International Community, the rights and the responsibilities of the States and the defines new approach of human rights. It turns into new page of globalization: not only new thinking of way through the borders, but not to be indifferent what’s going on around the world. 

What did you learn about R2P after the Symposium? Did your opinions on R2P involvement by countries or the UN change in any way?

The second Dag Hammarskjold Symposium in Beijing, China on 1 December, 2011 was very useful to me in a practical way.  It was great chance to listen about R2P and to meet diplomats, politicians and academics. Theoretically I had some background, but it was very interesting and practically useful to get information from the point of view legal and political aspects, to differ and to use these two lines in cooperate. 

During the symposium many specialists from different nations were talking about implementation of human rights, about security and sustainability of the world and they gathered under the umbrella of Responsibility to Protect.

I did not change my opinion but I strengthened my will and address my knowledge to involve many people under the ideology of Responsibility to Protect. 

Is your UNA or youth association involved with R2P activities? What are some ways in which you are going to highlight or promote awareness of R2P?

The strategy of Armenian UN Association is directly addressing the Youth.  Since 2005 AUNA conducted different Projects involving youth. It does not matter what kind of Project it is (Model UN Conference, Minority Camp, Human Rights, etc.), the main priority is how to serve for the development.  This is the mission of Armenian UN Association. The ideology of citizens is the background of the youth work in AUNA.

AUNA has a Youth Division which is involved in advocacy and awareness raising campaign as well. One of the target groups of the Project “Responsibility to Protect: Mobilizing Public and Political Will” are academics and students.  Now the Concept of R2P is well known not only because of lectures organized in the main Universities of Yerevan, but also because of our Youth Network which promote the importance of modern concept.

During the Project implementation AUNA organized a Debate-Competition involving more than 60 students. Before the Debate-Competition two training sessions were provided. In the process of the preparation period and debate the participants did their own research and expressed their opinion and arguments, which was not coincide with the personal orientation on R2P. For example, the participant who did not agree with the implementation and development of such kind of international norm personally, presented to the team’s argument from the point of “for”.  This structure gave them chance to examine the concept from many points and from many sides, which helped them to be more objective.

Wondong Andy Lee, UNA-ROKWondong Andy Lee, UNA-ROK

What did you know about R2P and conflict prevention prior to attending the symposium?

It was the universal responsibility of a government to protect its people from any form of inhumane aggression or serious encroachment of human right. If a government wants to maintain its controlling legitimacy over people in its region, it should be held accountable for the safety and well-being of its nationals. In case it is incapable or unwilling to do so, the international community takes proper measures to protect those under serious violations. However, due to the principle of sovereignty, it commonly involves the question of “to what extent the international community is justified to intervene in the domestic matters of a country.”

What did you learn about R2P after the Symposium? 

I had the chance to probe into particular conditions under which the R2P is justly triggered to respond to massive atrocities. In relation to this, I could discover the current change in the core concept of sovereignty; “sovereignty as a right to control” toward “sovereignty as a responsibility.” In general, I could basically endorse the principles of international documents and public statements regarding R2P. However, it seemed more deliberations should be called for as to find the reasonable consensus on the question of “just cause” and “just conduct” in humanitarian actions. Also, more thorough and effective monitoring system ought to be employed to prove such measures could substantially bring about the expected results after all.

What are some ways in which you are going to highlight or promote awareness of R2P?

I’ll make an effort to share what I’ve learned and discussed during the Beijing symposium and communicate with my friends or peers in regard to the important issues in implementing R2P principles. Also, I’ll keep watching the international affairs which presumably entail the responsibility of the international community to protect and try to evaluate the measures taken at the national level as well as global level. In doing so, I’ll hopefully be able to publish my thoughts and analysis that could contribute to more lively dialogue and debate about the R2P issues.

You can send him an email to learn more about the work of UNA-ROK.

Lucinda Millsom, UNA-ALucinda Millsom, UNA-A

What did you know about R2P before attending the Symposium?

I honestly didn’t know much. I knew that the UN could intervene in situations such as Libya but didn’t know what articles they used to justify intervention.

What did you learn about R2P after the Symposium?

The symposium was a very informative event. I learnt not only about the three pillars of the R2P but [also about] Dag Hammarsjkold. The most interesting part of the day was going through the case studies of Cote D’Ivorie, Libya, and Syria, as well as hearing the sometimes conflicting views of the role of the R2P in today’s global situation. 

If you would like to contact Lucinda to learn more about her experience at the Symposium, or to learn more about UNA-Australia, please send her an email: Lucinda Millsom.

Lucinda has also written about her experience here [pdf], in UNAA UNity. 

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

Watch us on YouTubeAdd us to your circle


Workging Globally for a Stronger and More Effectively - United Nations


1 United Nations Plaza
Room 240
New York, NY 10017, USA
Tel: 212-963-5610

12F, Seoul Global Center Building
38 Jong-ro (Seorin-dong)
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Tel: +82 2 6925 2695


Palais des nations
Villa Bocage VB 3
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Tel +41 22 917 3213


Rue Montoyer 14 Bruxelles - 1000 Belgium  




You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.