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Adolescents and youth

Youth Assembly 2005 at the United Nations: Young people making a difference

© UNICEF Video
Young delegates at the 2005 Youth Assembly, at United Nations headquarters.

By Kun Li

NEW YORK, 12 August 2005 – The United Nations’ Youth Assembly is a special conference held annually at UN headquarters, where young people from all over the globe get together to discuss how they can make a difference in today’s world.

The primary issue before the Assembly this year was how young people can be empowered to help their countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“My experience here is very exciting. I learned many new things about the Millennium Development Goals,” said Andrejs Eglitis, 21, a delegate from Latvia. “It’s like enlightenment for me. I now understand why MDGs are so important.”

“It’s inspiring to see young people come from so many different environments, working on similar problems,” said delegate Diallo Shabazz, 28, from the United States. “Everyone is working on issues like politics, educations, and health care. But these issues all manifest themselves differently.”

© UNICEF Video
A special peace flag ceremony was conducted at the end of the three-day conference. Delegates expressed their wishes for peace to all people in every country.

Johann Olav Koss among speakers

Speakers at the event included UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Olympic gold medallist Johann Olav Koss, who shared his experiences in working with UNICEF to help children realize their right to play.

Mr. Koss also offered words of encouragement for the young delegates: “I believe you are not too much different than I am – you have a dream, and want to make a difference. We can give dreams to children around the world affected by war, poverty and disease, to empower them to create a healthy and stronger world.”

Others who spoke included experts and activists who provided young delegates with  insights on what UN and its partners are doing to achieve the MDGs.

“Our focus is finding the strength within and the gifts within to help them make a difference,” explained Dr. Elaine Valdov, Director of the Youth Assembly.

After three busy days of learning, discussion, and networking, the conference concluded with a peace flag ceremony, in which the delegates carried flags of all 191 UN member states.

This year’s Youth Assembly was held from 3 to 5 August. The young delegates paid tribute to International Youth Day, celebrated on 12 August, and observed the 60th anniversary of the United Nations, which was founded in 1945.




12 August 2005:
UNICEF New York correspondent Kun Li covers the 2005 Youth Assembly at United Nations headquarters.

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