UN Initiatives, Innovative Thinking & Bold Creativity

Day 1 As the U.S. Youth Observer

September 22, 2012|By Brooke Loughrin
Welcome to the blog of the first-ever U.S. Youth Observer at the United Nations! As the U.S. Youth Observer, I will attend events in NYC during UN General Assembly week, as well as a number of events around the Social, Humanitarian Cultural Affairs Committee of the General Assembly in October. In addition, I will travel to speak about the UN’s work at public events and at UNA-USA Chapters around the country, blog, tweet and discuss my experiences with the general public, and advise UNA-USA on potential future youth roles at the UN. I hope this blog will serve as an exciting, engaging forum for discussing global youth issues and youth roles at the UN!
ValerieAmos_250International Executive Director of Greenpeace International Valeria Amos is interviewed by UN Foundation's Robb Skinner.
I started my first day off at the UNA-USA Headquarters in NYC with a briefing from Leo Nevas Human Rights Fellow Ryan Kaminski. Ryan gave me an overview of all of the UN bodies and thematic issues related to human rights at the UN. One of the most exciting issues the UN is working on this year is a wide variety of initiatives to improve the status of women and girls. Since its launch in 2010, the UN’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health has raised $40 billion dollars to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health, and is collaborating with national governments, the private sector and civil society to achieve Millennium Development Goals 4, 5 and 6.  

After my meeting with Ryan, I spent the rest of the day at the Social Good Summit (SGS). The SGS is a three-day conference which has brought together the most innovative technologists, influential minds and passionate activists to discuss a big idea: the power of innovative thinking and technology to solve the world’s greatest challenges. Watch the live stream of the entire event on the Social Good Summit site: http://socialgoodsummit.com

Today at the SGS, I had the opportunity to meet Dino Patti Djalal, Ambassador of Indonesia to the U.S., Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan, Ambassador of Mexico to the U.S., Kumi Naidoo, International Executive Director of Greenpeace International, and Valeria Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief.

Ambassador Djalal calls himself a “Twitter ambassador” because every day he tweets inspirational messages to Indonesians. He said that Indonesia is one of the most Twitter and Facebook-friendly nations in the world, and has a higher proportion of Indonesian Internet users signed on to Twitter than in any other country. Indonesia is also home to the world's third-largest number of Facebook users.

14YearOldAdoraSvitak_250Me with Adora Svitak!I also had the chance to interview 14-year old author and World Food Program Representative Adora Svitak. Adora is best known for her TED talk, “What Adults Can Learn from Kids”, where she insists that the world needs "childish" thinking: bold ideas, wild creativity and especially optimism.

Tomorrow I will be back at the SGS to interact with another fantastic line-up of speakers; including: Jeffrey Sachs, Muhammad Yunus and Forest Whitaker! I am also looking forward to meeting U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice and Assistant Secretary of State Esther Brimmer.

At 3:50 p.m. ET, I will be speaking on a panel on youth at the SGS - “Mobilizing Young People for the Next Generation of Social Good”. The panel will feature UNFPA Executive Director and Former Minister of Health of Nigeria Babatunde Osotimehin and Jeff Martin, co-Founder & CEO Tribal Brands. Sharon Feder from Mashable will be moderating.


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