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United Nations Youth Assembly: How you can take part

Have you ever dreamt of standing at general assembly podium at United Nations headquarters in New York? And that too as an official delegate not just as a visitor. I know this sounds difficult to achieve for someone in the early 20s because on television we have seen mostly ambassadors and foreign ministers attending the general assembly session.

So, let us introduce you to an exciting opportunity of becoming youth Delegate for Youth Assembly of the United Nations. An initiative launched in 2002 by Friendship Ambassador Foundation, an NGO formally associated with UN Department of Global Communications. The Assembly took place at the United Nations headquarters twice a year and is meant to gather the smartest, most innovative and engaged young leaders to explore cross-cutting issues and solutions for sustainable development in the social, economic, and environmental dimensions.  The unique platform of the Youth Assembly is designed for fostering dialogue and generating partnerships between exceptional youth, civil society, the private sector and the United Nations.

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The usual age to be eligible to apply as a delegate is from 16 to 28, but candidates above this age can apply as an observer. Youth Assembly is open for any nationality, hence is very competitive and requires a proven track record of leadership experience, school, or community involvement and interests in global affairs, sustainable development, and youth issues. The assembly last for about six days and generally includes Thematic Discussions, Skill-building workshops, Seed funding, and mentorship challenges, awarding ceremony and field visits to consulates and national institutions and organizations.

The registration only package doesn’t include accommodation, food, and travel as cost 200 dollars. There are however other packages that do include 3-star hotels and entry to some inclusive events. In any case, visa cost and airfare are to be taken care by the applicant himself/herself. New York, however is a metropolitan city where you can find Bed and breakfast at a cheap price. Once you have been selected as a delegate the organizers of the conference also creates a group on Facebook for all delegates, where you can also find a buddy to share a room with, at a hotel or Airbnb. The foundation will also send you an official invitation letter, to apply for a visa.

Friendship Foundation also sponsors a delegate or two to attend Youth Assembly at the United Nations in New York. The scholarship pays the registration fee, accommodation and meal, transportation between the conference venue and other side events, and the cost of travel to and from New York.  The scholarship winner also gets an opportunity to speak at the podium during the conference and get highlighted on the website and social media posts. Keep an eye for the announcement on the official website.

For those of you with an innovative idea for impact-oriented projects should also apply for Impact Challenge, which is designed exclusively for the youth leaders and change-makers, who are working in their communities with an enthusiasm for social innovation. The winners will be featured prominently on our global platforms, receive mentorship on social entrepreneurship and will also receive seed funding for the implementation of their projects. The youth assembly is an example of initiatives that aims to create a network of youth from diverse backgrounds with world-changing potential.  Beyond excelling at The Youth Assembly, you will return as a Delegates return to your home country to initiate or continue work on the ground. Attending youth-oriented initiatives like the Youth Assembly at the United Nation is an investment in yourself and your career. A day out of the comfort zone to sharpen your skills is investing in yourself. It is admitting that you are worth it, that you still have things to learn and that you can get better. Applications for the 24th Session of the youth assembly will open soon. Read more details on the official website.

About the author

Kisa Fatima

Kisa Fatima is a master graduate in Environmental Sciences and had worked in several Human rights and social inclusion projects around the world. She had worked with organizations like UNDP ( United Nations Development Programme), UNOPS (United Nations Office for Project Services), European Forest Institute (EFI) EU (European Union) and World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF). She describes herself as Ordinary girl with extraordinary dreams".