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NSHSS Member Attends United Nations Summer Youth Assembly


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

NSHSS Member Attends United Nations Summer Youth Assembly

In August 2015, NSHSS Member Suthida Frank, a student at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, had the opportunity to attend the Summer Youth Assembly at the United Nations in New York City. Suthida was the recipient of a scholarship offered by the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, which provided NSHSS members with the opportunity to attend the Global Leaders Conference Experience. She called the experience invaluable and empowering; she shares her experience below

Sustainable Change is a Collaborative Effort

From this trip I have made a handful of relationships from all corners of the world. In fact, I can only recall a small number of people who admittedly were from the United States. The cultures, and passions represented at the United Nations by the delegates brought up a very powerful truth: regardless of where it is they call home, the youth of the world are hungry for more positive sustainable change and are eager to take responsibility for the change they want to see.

There were many student-led initiatives that I got to learn about while at the conference. Another very important thing I learned is that the lack of money should not inhibit you from a project you believe in. We learned about how social media, corporate funding and fundraising are very successful ways of getting your social venture up off the ground and impacting lives. If you are passionate about correcting a social injustice, chances are other people with resources are too. But to become youth leaders we have to overcome the mindset that our age, social rank, or lack of funds. We have to demand to be heard. 

One of my favorite parts of the conference was when the ambassador to Suriname, Henry Mac-Donald, addressed the need to end gender inequality. He brought up how women need to be represented in Parliament, and how violence against women and girls can be prevented instead of just treated by working towards behavioral changes in men and boys, instead of just teaching the women and girls how to fight and dress. He ended with a call-to-action, "Men should be champions for gender equality." 

Many of the other speakers spoke of the empowerment of youth, and the need to support youth movements. Special Advisor for the Post 2015 Development Plan, Amina J Mohammed from Nigeria especially inspired me when she told us, "We can ends poverty." and "Never leave anybody behind." She remarked, "You see a door slightly opened? Open it wider. "It made me realize that with a collaborative effort, she was right. It starts in your home, then spreads into your community, and infects society. The discussion of teaching innovative farming methods, reducing waste, and expanding education was not a theoretical one. There are people earnestly working on these solutions, and by including the youth of the world, so much can be accomplished.

Again, thank you for making experiences like this be possible for us. Truthfully, it is a life changing one. I hope to never let the knowledge I acquired, or the friendships I’ve made go to waste.

About the Youth Assembly at the United Nations

The Youth Assembly at the United Nations (YA@UN) is a unique platform created by Friendship Ambassadors Foundation to foster dialogue and generate partnerships between exceptional youth, UN high officials and staff, private sector, and civil society. They are deeply committed to empowering youth to become active participants in the successful implementation of the UN Millennium Development Goals and to making a shift in the mindset of the young leaders – from the “business as usual” approach towards a more responsible form of leadership

This year the Friendship Ambassador Foundation provided NSHSS members with a special $250 discount off the Platinum Event Package and two scholarship opportunities to attend the Global Leaders Conference Experience from August 1-8, 2015.