At the recently concluded UN ECOSOC Youth Forum from January 30-31, 2018, I was honored to represent the Ethiopian youth through the UN. This was truly a unique opportunity for me as the National Director of AIESEC in Ethiopia and also as a member of the UN Youth Advisory Board Ethiopia (UNYAB-E). The UNYAB-E have been very supportive in making sure that Ethiopian youth is well represented and therefore funding these types of trips enable more young people to speak up.
I was also invited to participate at the SDG Media Zone. In this space, we talked about our reflections of the current reality of youth’s contribution to the SDGs or positively to our respective communities. We also discussed on the support youth groups are getting from their governments and other institutions. I was able to meet and talk to many other youth representatives, NGO heads, and Ministries of Youth of many countries and territories.
The biggest thing I took away from this Forum is that everyone has their own movements and progresses. From across the world, I saw that there are many good case practices to adopt and customize to ones own circumstances. The abundant network of experienced people was extremely beneficial in my understanding of the vastness and the possibilities of what we can do as young people. It was clear that the policy makers, the NGOs, and the UN are very open to seeing and hearing what the youth have to say. It was also clear that this is the time that our generation takes advantage to speak out and be heard, to collaborate and partner, and to unite and reach common ground in our customized approaches.
In observing, meeting and conversing with many of the great leaders of this world, I knew more about their initiatives and witnessed their drive to achieve their goals. I was inspired by other youth that were present who were managing a room of high level leaders because of their passion and clarity of direction. I was inspired by the humility and openness of the ministries to listen and support. I can say that I learned how to be a better leader through this experience.2