J. Luce Foundation Young Global Leader At UN DPI/NGO Conference

New York, N.Y. The 67th UN DPI/NGO Conference co-organized with NGO/DPI Executive Committee is the premier event in the NGO calendar. Attracting some 2,000 representatives from over 300 NGOs, each Conference focuses on a different UN topic of interest related to the work of civil society and NGOs. This international forum gathers UN System officials, prominent international NGOs, public opinion makers, members of academia and media to discuss issues of global concern. I was privileged to attend and be one of the plenary speakers at this conference on behalf of the United Nations Youth; as I represented The James Dudley Luce Foundation as a Young Global Leader.

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The Conference was an opportunity to discuss concrete ways to take the UN’s people-centered mandate forward, in closer partnership with civil society. The re-positioned UN development system offered a platform for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to work more effectively with the UN to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – and to communicate and advocate for it.

Accordingly, this Conference, co-hosted by the UN Department of Public Information and the NGO/DPI Executive Committee, assessed how the UN, Member States and NGOs, among others, are relaying and enacting the 2030 Agenda. It Identified platforms, approaches, and technologies for NGOs to promote the 2030 Agenda and explored how to tackle global perceptions regarding the UN’s accomplishments and failures that have shaped attitudes toward the values the Organization represents.

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I served as a moderator for one of the many workshops that took place during the UN DPI/NGO conference. The workshop was titled “Youth Leadership: A catalyst for national Transformation.” which was hosted in conference room 4 in the General Assembly building of the UN. The Youth leadership as a catalyst for national transformation workshop presented and discussed leadership skills and competencies that could strengthen national capabilities to achieve the United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs). Positioning youth as active agents of change in society, the workshop highlighted the voice of young people regarding what works and what is needed. A case study of youth leadership and action in Sierra Leone presented the mitigating socio-economic realities and challenges in the global south. It demonstrated best practices and outlined innovative solutions for enhancing youth development and leadership skills at local, national and community levels.

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There was a time where youth were told to follow and not trusted to lead. But that time is over! I am ever so proud to also say that I played a significant role in helping launch the New York Youth Declaration during the 67th UN DPI/NGO Conference 2018.

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Isaac Bayoh
Originally from Sierra Leone, Isaac Bayoh studied International Marketing & Corporate Management Technology at Eastern University. He is the Permanent Youth Representative of Sierra Leone to the UN in the area of Economic and Social Affairs. Isaac founded a non-profit called GirlOptimization to provide academic stationaries and sanitary needs for young women and girls in Sierra Leone.