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GSP 2014: Empowering Youth: How Can The United Nations Lead the Way Forward?

“Without urgent measures, we risk creating a 'lost generation' of squandered talent and dreams.” – Ban Ki-moon

Ten days of intensive learning, discussing and working in multicultural teams gathered 65 post-graduate students representing 44 nationalities and various academic backgrounds at Palais des Nations in Geneva from 30 June to 11 July 2014.

Youth and the UN

Youth is one of the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s five priorities for his term. This year’s GSP’s focus was on youth empowerment and its importance in facing today’s challenges concerning every generation. 19 UN organizations and agencies such as UNDP, UNHCR, UNFPA, IOM and WHO were invited to present their general tasks as well as special interests regarding the youth. The GSP participants challenged the speakers by various questions: How does the UN support young women interested in politics in developing countries? What concrete measures does the UN take to empower youth in different countries and cultures?

Inspiring speeches

A visit to ICRC allowed the students to learn about International Humanitarian Law and different forms of war. The programme was also enriched by the UN key person for youth, UNSG’s Special Envoy on Youth, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, speaking in live from New York. Another lucky strike for the GSP52 participants was the presence of the Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Jan Eliasson in Geneva during the event (see photo above). In his inspirational speech he encouraged today’s youth to remain hopeful despite the insecure future and global crises.

What more could the UN do for youth?

The Graduate Study Programme allows both the participants and the UN to learn from each other. During the two weeks long series of presentations, the participants completed a project in five Working Groups lead by ILO, ITU, OHCHR, the International Bureau of Education of UNESCO and WMO. The groups rivalled in creativity: strategic action plans, short films and online forums were proposed. The outcomes of the highly motivated participants were received with satisfaction and appreciation by their respective agencies. For a half a day the participants and the UN experts exchanged positions: the young adults themselves could show the UN which issues should be improved regarding educational curricula, new technologies, climate change, human rights and youth unemployment.

Click the logo of each organization to discover what the GSP52 Working Groups presented to the UN team in July 2014!
“The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is the UN system's authoritative voice on the state and behaviour of the Earth's atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, the climate it produces and the resulting distribution of water resources.” – WMO
“The International Bureau of Education (IBE) is the UNESCO institute specializing in educational contents, methods and structures. Its overall mission is to contribute to the attainment of quality Education for All (EFA). To this end, the IBE builds networks to share expertise on curriculum development in all regions of the world, and aims to introduce innovative approaches in curriculum design and implementation, improve practical skills, and facilitate international dialogue on educational policies and practices.” – UNESCO IBE
“The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) represents the world's commitment to universal ideals of human dignity. We have a unique mandate from the international community to promote and protect all human rights.” - OHCHR

“ITU (International Telecommunication Union) is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies – ICTs. TU is committed to connecting all the world's people – wherever they live and whatever their means. Through our work, we protect and support everyone's fundamental right to communicate.” - ITU

“he International Labour Organization (ILO) is devoted to promoting social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights, pursuing its founding mission that labour peace is essential to prosperity. Today, the ILO helps advance the creation of decent work and the economic and working conditions that give working people and business people a stake in lasting peace, prosperity and progress. Its tripartite structure provides a unique platform for promoting decent work for all women and men. Its main aims are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues.” - ILO