In celebrating International Youth Day, Polity Link held a webinar titled Youth Empowerment through the United Nations in relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As a platform, the United Nations’ role is undoubtedly massive in youth development and empowerment as it encourages maximum youth participation in various fields. With the number of over 1.5 billion across the world, the youth is a major player in shaping our society.
The first speaker, Mrs. Carolyn Handschin, the President of NGO CSW Geneva as well as the Director of UN Offices WFWPI, insisted that youth day should be celebrated everyday. She held an optimistic expectation, because "the youth can". Mrs. Handschin presented her takes on the United Nations Youth body and its specialty. The body, in accordance to its name, focuses on youth issues and answering the question of “What opportunities here, with me or us?” instead of just the usual “What problems are out there?”. In practice, the body brings concerned people together and prepares a progressive environment to enable them to develop, so that they can take this step to the future. Numbers of events have been organized by Mrs. Carolyn and her team to create a condition that engages younger generations to discover their full potential as contributing citizens due to the fact that world peace would only be achieved better if everyone contribute, including young people with their families and communities. In the end, she reminded us that we do not need the UN to build something, we have our own families and communities to build a sense of awareness on what is happening in our world, to become a leader who can change the world by the quality of their lives.
The second speaker, Dr. Shirley Yeung, the Vice President of UNESCO Hong Kong, emphasized the importance to follow the first PPH; Prosperity, Peace, and Happiness. All of the three factors are also in line with some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Dr. Shirley gave an example from her learning sessions on various new skill sets namely coding and entrepreneurship, proofs of her work with the youth in accordance with the SDGs. The Right to Development is another key points that she made during the webinar. Putting it under social issues, she identified three important factors in disclosure reporting for sustainable development, they are: integrate social issues with governance structure, integrate environment issues with governance structure, and benchmark performance with market leaders.
Followed by this, the audience engaged in a fruitful discussion with the panelist, raising the need for a mandate to begin constructing a network to build a global youth curriculum on empowerment and solidarity.
As for the closing remarks, Mrs. Carolyn claimed that mentoring is not only top-down, yet also so much bottom-up. She agreed that somehow the youths are not always taken seriously, despite the fact that it has changed a lot from years ago. She also acknowledged that the youths’ ideas are brilliant and workable, hence the importance for the youth to be given platforms to express themselves. As for Dr. Shirley, she presented her idea of 3As and its importance for the youth, they are; Accommodation, Adapt, and Adjust.
Polity Link finally ended this celebration on a note that we are here to inspire and be inspired for change and empowerment of Youth. Co-Directors Mr. Harsha and Ms. Srruthi, promised further commitments for the same, which they where invited to thank the audience.