On 16 November, the 2023 Young Activists Summit have honoured five outstanding young people for their achievements towards fostering peace and reconciliation on the ground.
The fifth Young Activists Summit (#YAS23) showcased five individuals aged between 14 and 29 and the remarkable impact of their actions throughout the world. At a time when wars, climate change, biodiversity loss, and human rights violations seem overwhelming, the 2023 Laureates have found concrete ways to advance peace within their communities, and reconcile humans with nature:
Nisreen Elsaim, 29, Sudan, Climate action for peace: Nisreen is a climate activist who has witnessed climate change and the conflicts it has triggered in her home country, Sudan. As natural resources are becoming increasingly scarce, she advocates for the need to invest in renewable energies, which will help prevent future conflicts. Nisreen is the President of Sudan Youth for Climate Change and serves as the Chair of the UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change. Since the conflict broke out in April in Sudan, she has lived in Italy and her work has focused on supporting youth still living in her home country.
Sawyeddollah Maung, 22, Myanmar, Rohingya people’s rights: Since fleeing Myanmar at the age of 16 to escape persecution of the Rohingya people, Sawyeddollah has lived in a refugee camp in Bangladesh. He is the founder of the Rohingya Student Network, which aims to ensure Rohingya people’s rights. Sawyeddollah advocates for better living conditions in the camps, organizes youth workshops to empower his community, and connects Rohingya refugees with international courts, enabling them to pursue justice. Among others, he has been active in the legal action taken against Meta for the role played by the platform in fostering the spread of hate content against the Rohingyas.
Maïmouna Ba, 27, Burkina Faso, Peacebuilding: Maïmouna is convinced that poverty and lack of access to education foster violent extremism. With her association, she helps displaced women work in farming and local handicraft. She supports them in becoming community leaders. She has allowed over 60 children to go back to school and connects them with a mentor who helps them heal from trauma. Maïmouna lives in Dori, a city located by the border between Burkina Faso and Niger. Part of her family escaped from the Yirgou massacre which killed 210 people in 2019.
Roshni Perween, 25, India, Child marriage prevention: Roshni was forcefully married at the age of 13, survived marital rape, and became a mother at 14. She has saved dozens of girls from forced marriage by organizing groups of child champions, working with local authorities and community leaders, and running awareness campaigns. She managed to make peace with her family following her divorce and to raise awareness of children’s right to live in a world free of violence.
Francisco Vera, 14, Colombia, Environmental protection: Francisco has fought for environmental protection since he was 9. He wrote a book for children on climate change, built a network of over 1,000 students, contributed to banning tests on animals and single-use plastics, as well as to adopting a moratorium on mining and fracking. Francisco advocates for action-oriented eco-hope to counter eco-anxiety among youth. Threatened with death, he currently lives in Spain.
Four of the five laureates will participate in the Young Activists Summit in person at the Palais des Nations on 16 November 2023, while Sawyeddollah, a stateless person who is unable to travel to Geneva will participate online. All laureates will be available for interviews in the run-up to the event, and on the day of the Summit.
A wide range of resources will be made available to journalists closer to the date, including a media kit, video news releases, b-roll footage and pictures of the activists in their communities, and of their causes. Registration will be made available closer to the date.
To cover the event, media representatives are required to hold valid UNOG-issued media credentials; media without credentials can register here.
The Summit is organized by the United Nations Office at Geneva, the NGO dev.tv, Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS), and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.
For any questions or requests, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
More information: www.youngactivistssummit.org
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