25th Youth Assembly Features Climate, Refugee and Gender Youth Activists
By Friendship Ambassadors
NEW YORK CITY, NY – Female young activists Alexandria Villaseñor, Hamdia Ahmed, and Donya Nasser will be among youth speaking alongside directors and representatives from United Nations agencies and civil society organizations at the 25th session of the Youth Assembly in New York City taking place from February 14-16, 2020.
Alexandria Villaseñor, who began her activism at age 13 by picketing at the UN Headquarters in New York City to support Greta Thunberg’s school strike movement, was one of the youth organizers of the global climate strike that took place in September 2019. Since then, she has been traveling across the country to raise awareness for climate justice, particularly at global forums such as the UN Climate Change Conference and World Economic Forum. For the second time, she will be the keynote speaker at the Youth Assembly’s opening ceremony.
21-year-old Hamdia Ahmed, a Somali model and activist, has attended the Youth Assembly twice as a delegate before joining as a speaker this February. Early experiences of injustice growing up in a refugee camp at a young age prompted Hamdia to start advocating for the rights of refugees and migrants.
“Refugees have a voice, they just need world leaders to hand them the mic. They don’t need people around the world to feel bad for them, instead they need support and the right resources to rebuild their lives,” says Hamdia. She will represent the youth voice on a panel on humanitarian crises together with directors from International Rescue Committee, International Development and Relief Foundation, and other humanitarian nonprofits.
Donya Nasser began her engagement at the Youth Assembly as the U.S. Youth Observer to the United Nations in 2015. Among her long list of accolades and activities, she is currently the Senior Manager for Public Engagement and Policy at the Center for the Developing Adolescent and the youngest member of the Board of Directors of the Planned Parenthood Federation.
“I have always believed that leadership should be reaching for the stars with one hand and leaving one hand near the ground to uplift our communities with us,” says Donya. In February, she will be joining representatives from Girl Up, UN Women’s HeForShe, and other nonprofits at a Youth Assembly panel tackling gender equality. “It’s time we start intentionally and meaningfully reaching out that hand to our women and girls,” she continues.
The Youth Assembly comes at a crucial time as a growing wave of youth activism emerges after a series of youth-led protests around the world. The conference takes the theme “It’s Time: Youth for Global Impact” to galvanize support for youth leadership development and encourage more young people to take a stand and take action on issues they care about.
Participating organizations include UNDP, UNESCO, UNIDO, the World Bank Group, Idealist, AFS Intercultural Programs, BRAC, and more.
The conference, held for the first time in 2004 and now in its 25th session, is organized by U.S. nonprofit Friendship Ambassadors Foundation to serve as a unique platform for cultivating a global network of young leaders and changemakers through exchange, education, and entrepreneurship.
For a complete list of speakers, visit the Friendship Ambassadors’ website.