I am pleased to announce the Program Agenda for our upcoming 23rd Youth Assembly, taking place from February 15-17, 2019 in New York City. This year, we have chosen a theme that encapsulates the overall essence of our work at The Youth Assembly: “Empowering Youth for Global Development“. Young people represent a majority of the population in many countries, and we believe it is important that we find ways to help youth become key players and leaders in addressing the world’s most pressing challenges. At FAF, our goal is to bring together people from all the world’s regions in meaningful ways in order for them to learn and grow together with purpose and ultimately take action to solve their unique development challenges. With this in mind, we designed this year’s program with four areas of focus:
- Empowering Youth – There is a great desire within our FAF Community to take action and have an impact, but to do this one needs an awareness of the right tools, resources, and strategies. As an NGO with UNESCO and ECOSOC Consultative status and formally associated with UN DPI, we are particularly keen to provide ways for our FAF community to be active in the movement for sustainable development. We want to provide multiple and tangible ways for youth to get involved either through partnerships with NGOs or the private sector, learning from the YA Alumni, networking with peers and industry leaders, becoming a YA Impact Facilitator, or launching a new initiative through the YA Impact Challenge.
- Core Challenges: Poverty, Peace, Education, and Environment – These core challenges are the primary focus of the sustainable development agenda, and this year’s UN High-Level Political Forum. In our effort to highlight these, we want to deeply consider and discuss these issues through multiple panels comprised of key stakeholders and leading experts in these fields. Each panel is structured to provide practical advice on the role that youth can play, and the actions they can take. I hope you will find these to be outstanding opportunities to join the conversation, broaden your understanding on these topics, and engage with others in advancing the priorities of the HLPF. These sessions are designed not only to inform and educate, but to capture and highlight the voices of youth.
- Regional Inclusion – This is a focus area we are bringing to The Youth Assembly for the first time, in response to a call for a more inclusive representation of regional perspectives in our program content. While we want to bring our world together to exchange ideas and engage more on global issues, we recognize the localness of many issues. There will be sessions focused on Africa, Latin America, Asia, and MENA. Of course, these are open to all who want to take a deep dive into the issues that are the most pressing in a particular region. These sessions also represent a great opportunity to find potential collaborators who share the same challenges, goals, and aspirations as you do. In this way, this Youth Assembly will bring global citizens together to brainstorm solutions that are practical on the ground for each region.
- Empowering All: Leaving No One Behind – In a world striving for true equality, no one can be left behind. Unfortunately, inequality is prevalent in so many areas whether it be gender, race, or income, and it does not stop there. That is why we want to take the discussion beyond the goals outlined in SDG 10. The Youth Assembly brings together so many diverse groups of young people and represents a unique chance to foster engagement on many challenges of inequality around the world.
We hope that the upcoming conference will breathe life to ideas that can spark innovative youth-led solutions to some of the most critical issues we’re facing today. You can find more details on each focus area and specific sessions on our website. We have significant challenges before us, which means that your leadership and our collective action is needed now more than ever. Together we can do this. As we say at FAF, “I ACT, WE IMPACT!”
I look forward to seeing you in February!
Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, Inc.