Social Ventures for Sustainable Development: Fairleigh Dickinson University hosts pre-Youth Assembly seminars

Social Ventures for Sustainable Development: Fairleigh Dickinson University hosts pre-Youth Assembly seminars

The preliminary activities of the Youth Assembly at the United Nations have been inspiring.

During the four-day seminar before reaching New York, the delegates received great insights on the event at the U.N. Beside taking part in didactic activities like visiting Novartis, they were divided into 20 groups and assigned to a peer mentor. Along with their companions, they worked on developing a sustainable business proposal.

On the last day, Aug. 8, all the groups presented their respective ideas in front of all attendees, including several Fairleigh Dickinson University professors as well as the executive director of the Youth Assembly, Biana Kovic. Most of the delegates are only teenagers, which is hard to believe considering their integral and well-thought-out solutions to achieve some of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

Two groups in particular stood out for their remarkable ideas. They proposed to eliminate two issues of our time: the exodus of Syrian refugees and the violations against women in Africa.

Arab millennials developing platform for young refugees’ education

Through a presentation titled “Spreading hope and the right to dream among Syrian refugees,” eight millennials from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Greece presented a project named “Hope for Opportunity” to defend Syrian refugees’ rights and help them to integrate in hosting societies. In order to ensure a future for young people living in refugee camps, their project will involve training activities to give them a proper education.

Winning Arab group

Winning Arab group

Mentored by Ms. Hezha Khan, freelance social entrepreneur and advisor at the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), the group presented relevant solutions to provide millennial refugees with the means to personally develop their skills. In this way, they will autonomously be able to adapt to world changes and transitions.

In this regard, the Hope for Opportunity team will act both at the digital level and on the ground, in Lebanon and other countries hosting refugee camps, where local partners will manage intensive courses and professional trainings to prepare young refugees for the labor market.

Furthermore, thanks to the platform, talented students will have the opportunity to connect to the professional world. Reports and documentaries provided by the platform will showcase the talents during ground activities.

Some relevant organizations, such as the Emirates Foundation, the Arab Women Organization, The University of Glasgow and Technical University of Munich will then support the refugee projects.

Five millennials from West Africa develop initiative to end violations against local women

Names of group members: Vida Ofei-Addo (Ghana), Francess Munu (Sierra Leone), Tabitha Abimiku (Nigeria), Enoabasi Nta (Nigeria) and Sekou Sangare (Mali)

Names of group members: Vida Ofei-Addo (Ghana), Francess Munu (Sierra Leone), Tabitha Abimiku (Nigeria), Enoabasi Nta (Nigeria) and Sekou Sangare (Mali)

The other award was presented to a group of five millennials from West Africa. Thanks to the advice of peer mentor Shermin Luo, a social entrepreneur and co-founder of the Global Youth Mentorship Initiative, the group developed a plan aimed at eliminating female genital mutilation (FGM) in West African countries.

Their activity will start in January 2018, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where 91 percent of young women are still at risk. The team will identify victims, follow up on their cases and advocate for women empowerment.

In the short term, the team aims to transmit their creative skills and raise awareness about FGM effects on health and psychological well-being. In the long term, the team will provide monthly reports of the progress achieved to increase the impact of this initiative and spread its positive effect even in other African countries.

The victims will also be encouraged to manage the violence they suffered, enhancing their self-esteem through communication, public speaking and self-expression. As a further step, they will be engaged with the team as models for other young female victims.

The group has already contacted and gained support from regional and international partners, such as Call from Mali, Miss Vee Foundation, Youths Of Salone, ATC - Foundation and Gal Pikin Business.

Group members during the 2017 summer Youth Assembly at the United Nations

Group members during the 2017 summer Youth Assembly at the United Nations

At the end of the session, Kovic along with FDU professors Jason Scorza, Diana Cvitan and Jerard Cleaves presented the awards to the two winning groups. 

Global Young Voices wishes both groups all the support they need to successfully carry their activities, inspiring governments and other people to take action.

Day 8: Closing ceremony: It’s time to achieve the 17 global UN goals

Day 8: Closing ceremony: It’s time to achieve the 17 global UN goals