In an aim to foster dialogue and generate partnerships amongst exceptional youths, United Nations High Officials and Staff, Private Sector and Civil Society, the UN Summer Youth Assembly is held once every year.
This time around, the Assembly was held at the UN Headquarters in New York, USA, where it commenced on August 10th and concluded two days later. At the event, tremendous focus was placed on empowering youth leaders and young professionals in the implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Representing Guyana was Ms. Nalissa Mathoo, who works locally in the E-Governance Agency of the Ministry of Public Telecommunications.
Kaieteur News caught up with Ms. Mathoo earlier this week where she related her experience working alongside 999 other participants at the Assembly. She was proud to announce that of these delegates, she was chosen among the top 20.
“My experience at this year’s youth assembly in New York was one that was nothing short of amazing, from meeting youths from all around the world, to listening and participating in workshops. The workshops sought to assist us in better understanding the seventeen Goals that the United Nations set out for 2030, and also to help us to make our one of the goals our personal goal, a reality,” she said.
These 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) collectively aim to address the World’s greatest challenges to ensure that there is no poverty; zero hunger; good health and well-being; quality education; gender equality; clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; decent work and economic growth; industrial innovation and infrastructure; reduced inequalities; sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption and production; climate action; better life below water; better life on land; peace, justice and strong institutions; and partnership, to ensure that these goals are carried out effectively and efficiently.
“My goal is quality Education because I believe that education plays a major role in helping to solve some of the problems that we face today and also every child deserves and have a right to an education. My favorite quote, and one that I strongly believe in, is one that came from a great man, Nelson Mandela, who said that education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world,” Ms. Mathoo said.
She added that the Youth Assembly was an eye-opener for her, to the many problems being faced by youths around the world today.
“Unfortunately, today we find that youths are more interested in other places which are not useful to them as well as their nation. Some choose to spend their days doing all manner of things that are dangerous to themselves and Guyana. They spend their nights partying and living it up, so to speak.
More and more young men and women of this age group are sitting at home or roaming about aimlessly instead of bettering themselves or going to work. There is a lack of ambition and the drive to make any attempt to achieve goals – we must get control of this; we must motivate our youths; teach them responsibility. I fear if we do not do these things, we will destroy ourselves.”
Ms. Mathoo said that a change is needed, where the older generation needs to “step up their game and be better mentors”. She added that the onus is often focused on the youths, but this notion needs revision so as to ensure that the older generation has a more critical role to play in youth development and mentorship and also, to ensure that the values and character growth in young people is not stymied.
“The youth of today are the driving force of tomorrow. They have responsibility towards their country, which they must acknowledge and practice. Youths should come together and mould the nation for a better tomorrow.”
Ms. Mathoo said that next move will now be to work assiduously to carry out her goal; her mission.
“Because I work in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Sector, I am looking to partner with individuals and agencies. Some have gotten on board and we will be looking to set up a small computer lab in my community, which will seek to teach underprivileged children the foundation of information technology”
“I would like to thank everyone who supported me during my journey… I wish I could list everyone, but they know themselves. These persons have shown that youth matters and I’m grateful especially for that. Youth are not only the leaders of tomorrow, but the partners of today” she said.
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