Arrowhead Article

UN Conference Encourages Youth Activism Globally
March 27, 2015 by thearrowheadonline

Given the opportunity to speak on a global scale, junior Mackenzie Moyer attended the 2015 United Nations Student Leadership Conference. Such events are amplifying the voices of young people in the modern world.

By connecting students around the world, the United Nations Student Leadership Conference on Development, held February 6-9, allowed students to determine solutions for issues in developing countries.

On February 6, 30 student leaders of the conference met in the United Nations Church Center in NYC to discuss their plan of action based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, focusing on nutrition, sanitation and clean water, sustainability in business, and education.

Moyer’s topic was education, one which she “[feels] very strongly about. It was a great thing for me to be able to connect to.”

Moyer and junior Bryan Freedman were elected by the student leaders to co-chairs in a tie.

In this position, Moyer and Freedman mediated the conference, held on February 9 at the United Nations Building, of approximately 300 people from all over the world.

Attendees were both in person and over video conference from Mexico, India, and the Philippines.

Moyer had the opportunity to collaborate with students from across the world.

“It was a learning experience. It was really cool to be able to learn from my peers and make coherent thoughts from all the things that were being said,” said Moyer. “It was a really invaluable experience…It was humbling.”

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Voices of Youth Coordinator Zayn Abaakil was the guest speaker at the conference.

The Voices of Youth is a program by UNICEF which allows young people to communicate and collaborate though the internet.

“Youth are the ones who are able to look at the world in their own way. They are creative, not cynical. They are believers,” said Abaakil.

A longtime activist and champion of youth communication and cooperation, Abaakil said to “get off your couches, do something. The whole world is out there and in your hands. Use the amazing tools at your disposal to make change. Move.”

The plan of action was passed 336 yeas, three nays, and three abstentions.

Moyer and Freedman will present the plan of action to the United Nations Envoyon Youth in April.

Beginning in October, students have been attending smaller conferences though Global Education Motivators (GEM), a non-governmental organization devoted to connecting youth on a global scale, and organizers of the conference in New York City.

“Youth need to lead the way into the twenty-first century,” said GEM president and director Wayne Jacobi. “[Youth] should not just watch the news, but react to it and make change.”

Souderton was invited to a GEM briefing conference early this school year.

According to Moyer, she heard an announcement for a UN Day opportunity at Chestnut Hill College and promptly joined, “having no idea it could go so far.”

Moyer “enjoyed the experience,” where students from around the area were briefed about future plans.

Moyer is “passionate” about justice in the modern world, and a leader and founding member of Souderton’s Peace and Justice Club, which holds discussions pertaining to social justice.
The Peace and Justice Club is one of several student activism clubs at Souderton.

She feels it is “important” for students to get involved in their world, both on a local level and globally.

By Bryan Freedman
Arrowhead Staff Writer


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