Youth Foresight Fellows
Meet UNICEF's first cohort of Youth Foresight Fellows
Today, too few opportunities exist for young people to contribute to global trends analysis and foresight efforts. The opportunities that do exist often fail to engage diverse groups of youth (including the most vulnerable), ensure involvement of youth is appropriate to their interests and skills level, and provide safe, conducive, and accountable conditions for youth. Recognizing that young people have been a driving force for change throughout history, their absence from foresight processes inevitably hinders society’s capacity to anticipate how the world is changing. Furthermore, young people have a right to be part of any conversation about futures they will inherit.
UNICEF has recruited a group of young futurists/foresight practitioners from around the world to become its first cohort of Youth Foresight Fellows. Fellows will work with UNICEF to design and facilitate a comprehensive foresight research process to inform UNICEF’s Global Outlook which provides an annual in-depth analysis of trends and events impacting the rights and wellbeing of children across the globe. Fellows will also design a foresight compendium tool to make futures thinking more accessible to young people.
Together, we look forward to further exploring and learning how best to bring young people to the table, what they bring, and how to engage them meaningfully, building intergenerational partnerships to understand and address long-term challenges.
Nourhan Badr El Din
Nourhan Badr El Din is a future thinker at the UNDP accelerator lab, working for the first experiments of frontier challenge in the agriculture and energy sector. She is a global journalist, cross-cultural dialogue facilitator, and creative leadership and peace building advocate. Nourhan believes that today's VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) world needs youth inclusion because young people are the ones who will implement new solutions and embrace ideas of social change and innovation for current and upcoming generations.
Iman Bashir is a lawyer and environmental scientist. As a research consultant with the School of International Futures (SOIF) she explores inclusive futures for emerging technologies in Africa and what is contextually relevant for the continent and its future. Iman believes that foresight strategies benefit from the perspectives of youths because, while the future belongs collectively to all generations, it is young people who will be directly impacted by them the most. Therefore, making more strategically sound decisions in the present will lead to more favorable future realities for the youth.
Jacob Ellis is a Lead Change Maker at the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, where he advises institutions on the implementation of the Well-being of Future Generations Act. He is also the United Nations Foundation Next Generation Fellow for future generations. Jacob is a member of the Sustainability Strategy Working Group for the Football Association of Wales and a Climate Justice Campaign Advisor for the Museums Association. He is a Non-Executive Director at Literature Wales and a Trustee at Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, former BBC Wales Journalist (2018), trustee of Scouts Cymru (2019), Chair of Urdd Gobaith Cymru’s youth committee (2014), and has spoken at several international events including COP26, World Government Summit, One Young World and the UN High-Level Political Forum.
United States of America
Deona Julary is a junior at Hinsdale Central High School in Illinois, USA. She has interned at Teach The Future and SDG Align, working on foresight and technology-oriented projects and publications. Additionally, she is an active competitor, coach, and evaluator for the Future Problem Solving Program International. She believes it is important to consider young people's perspectives when solving global issues because, simply put, young voices are the future. Young people offer fresh and innovative solutions to tackle today's problems, and she is so grateful to UNICEF for providing a platform that facilitates intergenerational collaboration.
Republic of Korea
Ijun Kim is an advocate of sustainable development and peacebuilding. Her work experience spans from not-for-profit organizations to solar technology startups, which has allowed her to better understand the complex nature of international matters. She is also part of United Nations projects that aim to further the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda with a focus on foresight. Her motivation for promoting youth leadership stems from the firm belief that the very people who will be living in the future should have their voices be heard and have a direct influence in shaping it.
Asra Memon is a qualitative researcher with a strong background in anthropology, social development and strategic foresight. She conducts research and evaluations on projects related to public health and social innovation. As a proponent of youth foresight, Asra believes that young people should play a crucial role in decision-making because of their openness to innovation and capabilities for 'doing development differently'. It is the youth who are often more aware of emerging trends, risks and opportunities, which can help us be prepared for the future collectively.
Fisayo Oyewale is a 2022 SOIF alumna, an NGFP Fellow, and a contributor to the African Digital Futures project. She also serves on the advisory board for the Most Significant Futures Work Award given by the Association of Professional Futurists. Fisayo's is a foresight researcher at the School of International Future on Artificial Intelligence for Development in Africa. Fisayo considers youth perspectives as crucial due to their unrestricted imagination and unconventional thinking. She believes that youth perspectives need to be nurtured like seeds that will eventually grow into a forest of hopeful intergenerational futures.
Ricardo Pineda Guzmán
Ricardo Pineda Guzmán is a sustainable development engineer. He is a Fulbright fellow and an EDD Young Development Leader by the European Commission. He is the director of Sustenta Honduras, an organization working on climate adaptation and capacity building. Young people will inherit the consequences from the decisions that are being taken today. Therefore, he believes it is crucial to include them in the decision-making processes to better prepare them and empower them to tackle these challenges.
As Germany's UN Youth-Delegate for the Preparatory UN Climate Change Conference, Joshua Steib co-drafted the global youth position paper on climate change for COP26. During this process and as a delegate at COP26 in Glasgow, he spoke to hundreds of young people from all over the world. They have one thing in common: a deep passion to co-create a sustainable and just future. Foresight is about questioning conventions and established assumptions to map out our future and identify solutions to pressing issues. And who is better at thinking outside the box about our future and developing creative solutions than young people?