For the fourth time, SDSN-Youth took part in the Youth Assembly, a unique conference, that biannually, gathers youth talent from all over the world in New York City. On its 22nd Edition, the Youth Assembly, under the theme of New Grounds for Sustainable Development,” brought together 900 Youth Delegates from close to 100 countries. The meeting presented panels, workshops, and networking sessions with the goal of empowering young people and giving them the tools to develop their projects effectively towards sustainable development.
Siamak Sam Loni, SDSN-Youth’s Global Coordinator, was a speaker at the Opening Ceremony, which also included a keynote speech by UNSDSN Director Prof. Jeffrey Sachs; remarks by Deena Merlen, from FAF’s Board of Directors; Her Excellency Simona-Mirela Miculescu, Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office in Belgrade; and Andy Rabens, Head of Global Youth Issues at the U.S. State Department Department.
Siamak Sam Loni explained the opportunities that SDSN-Youth offers young people worldwide and emphasized the role of youth as not only the leaders of the future but also the leaders of the present.
SDSN-Youth Arts Twenty Thirty Program was represented by Trevor Arnett, singer, communications expert, and human rights activist, member of the network since 2016. Trevor performed the song Girls Campaign featuring singer Morgan Reilly.
Siamak Sam Loni also participated at the panel “The Role of Youth in Sustaining Peace,” along with Columbia Professor Beth Fisher-Yoshida, Academic Director of the Columbia University Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program; Laura Powers of the International Peace Institute; Ileri Jaiyeoba, Founder of Code Red; and two Youth Assembly Distinguished Youth Speakers: Jasmin Lilian Diab and Carly Kabot.
The panelists discussed a great variety of topics including conflicts in urban spaces, gender and conflict, conflict and minorities, and the role of education in ensuring peace, presenting inspiring youth-led initiatives that are making a difference in the resolution of these issues.
After last year’s successful participation, the organizers of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum in Minneapolis invited SDSN-Youth members to participate in the 2018 Edition titled “The Paradox of Peace.” Isabel Pérez Dobarro, SDSN-Youth´s UN Focal Point and Arts Twenty Thirty Project Lead, and Youth Solutions Report innovators: Victoria Erdel, founder of the Trafficking Dispatch, and Cristián Palacios, creator of Cartas por la Reconciliación, participated in this event.
Isabel Pérez Dobarro and Victoria Erdel were part of the Youth Forum, where they spoke to a group of High School and College Students. In their speeches, both highlighted the role of youth in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the relevance of youth leadership at the local, regional, national, and international levels. Also, Victoria Erdel explained how through her initiative, the Trafficking Dispatch, she aims to empower young people to put an end to human trafficking.
SDSN-Youth also led one of the parallel sessions, in which innovators Victoria Erdel and Cristian Palacios presented their initiatives at a panel moderated by Isabel Pérez Dobarro. Victoria described the impact that the Trafficking Dispatch podcasts are having in raising awareness about human trafficking and finding solutions to it; while Cristian highlighted the fundamental role of dialogue and understanding in conflict resolution through his initiative Cartas por la Reconciliación, based in Colombia.
Isabel Pérez Dobarro is the Project Leader of the SDSN Youth´s Project Arts Twenty Thirty, which uses the arts as a tool to raise awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda. Through this initiative, Pérez Dobarro has organized artistic events all around the world and created a network of international artists committed to SDG implementation. Pérez Dobarro has represented SDSN-Youth at the Winter Youth Assembly, the High-Level Signing Ceremony of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations Headquarters, among other events. In addition to her involvement in SDSN-Youth, Pérez Dobarro is the Western European Representative of the Fair Air Coalition organization. Pérez Dobarro is a Ph.D. candidate at New York University, holds a J.D in Law, and is currently taking law courses at New York University. In addition to her law and sustainability studies, Pérez Dobarro is a concert pianist who has played at Carnegie Hall, Tchaikovsky Conservatory Moscow, and Ateneo de Madrid, and is a prizewinner of competitions in Spain, Portugal, and the United States.