NSHSS member Nala Bailey is from Towson, Maryland; she is a junior in high school and is currently homeschooled. She plans to go to college for Audio Engineering with a minor in Writing. While she attends high school she is already pursuing her passion for writing and the music industry.
Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone to Gain a Global Perspective
I attended the 2016 Winter Youth Assembly at the UN for the first time this year, and I was honestly a little nervous, I wasn’t positive I would enjoy it, however it was one of the best experiences I have ever had.
During the two-day event at the UN, I met so many different people and cultures and was constantly out of my comfort zone which I enjoyed. My favorite experience, and the one I felt had the biggest impact on me, was the 5th panel with the speakers Donya Nasser, the U.S. Youth Observer to the UN, and Mansi Prakash, Founder of Brighter Today. The moderator was Holly Ransom, CEO of Emergent Solutions. Mansi and Donya talked about their lives and how they came to be where they are now, and why their passions were their passions. Mansi spoke on poverty and Donya talked about gender equality. This was my favorite panel because for me to see young woman being in leadership and taking a stand for what they believed in, encouraged me.
I was thrilled and shaking in my boots, because I have heard and seen young people my age on TV doing things to change the world, but I had never been physically a part of it and I was ecstatic just to be a part of the experience, to learn from them and gain whatever I could from those two young women. Donya mentioned that someone said she couldn’t be a Feminists and a Muslim and she reminded us to never listen to people who said we couldn’t do something because of who we are. Mansi talked about how she grew up in an impoverished area and therefore it encouraged her instead of disheartened her to change it and bring awareness, and that’s when she started Brighter Day. She went to college to get a good education, so she could learn how to help others and improve poverty.
Another panel that I attended and enjoyed was the Step It Up For Planet5050 by 2030: Youth and Gender Equality. One of the panelists Mohammed Naeem said something that I will keep with me which is “You cant expect men to participate in the process of empowering women unless they are whole men themselves.” I had never look at that way and it made me think more and realize that gender equality isn’t just encouraging woman; it also demands us to encouraging men as well or there wouldn’t be equality between the genders. I learned many things, was encouraged multiple times, and was surrounded by people from different backgrounds and cultures and yet we all came together for one thing and that was to improve the world we inhabit. It pushed out of my comfort and forced me to grow, and I look forward to going again.
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