Youth Representatives focus on the current state of education worldwide and offer solutions to its shortcomings in the areas of technology and public-private partnerships.
As Conference Room 2 at UN Headquarters began to fill with college students, NGO Representatives, UN personnel, Ambassadors, entrepreneurs, teachers, and more, the energy in the room was building. One could certainly feel the momentum and anticipation surrounding this youth organized event. By 10:15 AM the room was packed, buzzing with intergenerational, interdisciplinary conversation.
Olga Mun, a Youth Rep and one of the youngest faculty members of Lehigh University, moderated this briefing. As a rising scholar in comparative international education, she was well informed and able to provide expertise on the issues that would be touched upon during the briefing. An attention-grabbing video highlighting the unemployment and lack of education crisis across the world opened up the briefing, setting the tone of urgency and optimism for the next two hours.
The first and youngest panelist (19 years old), Alex Wirth, from the United States National Commission for UNESCO, spoke about the unemployment crisis internationally and in the United States. Alex proposed that we “make the classroom relevant again.,” in order to engage students who are disconnected and prepare them for jobs in the 21st century. By giving students first hand experience while they are in school, we can prepare them for the real world. Olga Mun very importantly noted that while skills training for jobs are necessary, education is a human right and should be treated as such. Students should not be looked at as solely an economic benefit once educated, but should also be nurtured as responsible, world citizens.
The final panelist, Gretel Truong, of the Global Business Coalition for Education, spoke about technology’s role in education in the public-private sector. She talked about ways companies such as Gucci, HP, and Intel worked with the Global Business Coalition for Education through providing funding and connections for education platforms, such as a concert featuring Beyoncé, J-Lo, and others which shed light on the need for education. So long as people remain unaware of the issues at hand, the current situation will remain stagnant. These kinds of forums are necessary to combat the education and unemployment crisis.
At the end of the briefing, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s Envoy on Youth Ahmad Alhendawi, the first and youngest in UN’s history, gave closing remarks. He pointed out that while we now have the highest number of educated youth the world has ever seen, youth are still looking for jobs. He stressed the importance of youth feeling empowered to create their own jobs and the need to change the legal framework to support young entrepreneurs.
This Youth-Led Briefing can be watched here.
Social Chair, ATOP Meaningfulworld
NGO DPI Badge-Holding Youth, please contact us for more information and to join our efforts: ATOPYouthRep@gmail.com
Ed. Note: The DPI NGO Youth group represents youth affiliated with UN DPI Associates. All youth badge holders of UN NGO DPI organizations are encouraged to contact and join this fast-growing organization.
The Global NGO Executive Committee (GNEC) was founded in 1962 to promote a closer working relationship between the United Nations and the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) associated with it. GNEC acts as a liaison between the NGO community and the UN's Department of Global Communications (DGC). GNEC provides strategic guidance to help NGOs become more effective partners of the UN.
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