On 8 August 2018, the President of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Miroslav Lajčák, joined New York City youth, in Harlem, for an informal discussion. The conversation explored how the United Nations can better engage with youth and how youth can get more involved with the UN. Implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals will not be possible without the involvement and leadership of young people.
Several youth-led or youth-serving organizations in NYC joined us for the event. The participants included youth from Children’s Aid, Bloomberg LP Startup Program, Bronx School Lab, Cyphers for Justice, and Integrate NYC. Children’s Aidhelps children in targeted, under-resourced neighborhoods in New York City to succeed and thrive. Bloomberg LP Startup Program works to inspire the next generation through the education engagement program, which provides mentoring, tutoring, workshops, and internship opportunities. The Bronx School Lab, a NY Performance Standards Consortium school is a four-year open enrollment college preparatory, small public high school. Choice for All works with communities to unlock their potential and strengthen the voice of Long Island’s children and families. Cyphers for Justiceworks with Columbia University’s Institute for Urban and Minority Education. They apprentice inner-city youth as critical researchers through the use of participatory action research, hip-hop, spoken word, and digital literacy. Integrate NYCworks for integration and equity in NYC schools. They also advocate for young people’s involvement in decision making at local, city, state, and federal levels.
President Lajčák opened the event by giving remarks to the young people describing the vital role they play in achieving the SDGs. The discussion then began with youth asking the President about how the UN works to address global challenges. The topics discussed included how young people can engage in the implementation of the SDGs, the importance of empowering women and girls through leadership and education and how can young people influence and shape decisions made at the UN.
The Meet and Greet with the PGA was an appropriate way to kick off International Youth Day, which is being celebrated on the 12th of August.
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