GFDD, FUNGLODE and UNA-DR Coordinate Panel on UN Youth Delegates during High-level Segment of ECOSOC

July 8, 2010

On July 2, 2010, Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD), Fundacion Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE) and the United Nations Association of the Dominican Republic (UNA-DR), in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic to the United
Nations, coordinated the panel “Empowerment of Young Women through the Youth Delegates to the United Nations Programme: Fostering Active Participation in Decision Making Bodies,” during the framework of the High-level Meeting of ECOSOC on gender equality and the empowerment of women.

The panel featured presentations by Anik Kohli, Advisor to the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN and former Youth Delegate, and Fruzsina Molnar Straus,
Communications and Programs Officer for the World Federation for the United Nations Association (WFUNA). Opening remarks were provided by H.E. Ambassador Federico Cuello, Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations. Closing remarks were provided by Yamile Eusebio, Director of the GFDD New York Office and Director of Formative Activities for FUNGLODE. The event was moderated by Kerry Stefancyk, GFDD/FUNGLODE Representative to ECOSOC.

Federico Cuello commenced the panel, calling attention to the importance of integrating youth in the work carried-out by UN bodies and commending President Leonel Fernández for giving priority to the UN Youth Delegates Programme.

Anik Kohli spoke about her experience as a Youth Delegate and discussed the implementation of the program by the Mission of Switzerland. Frunzsina Molnar Straus highlighted the importance of Youth Delegate Programs worldwide. This year
the United Nations is celebrating the International Year for Youth. In September 2010, WFUNA will release a Youth Delegate Handbook that will help nations develop Youth Programs and opportunities for delegates to lobby with their governments. Yamile Eusebio expressed her gratitude to the panelists for their participation in the event and underscored the importance of the youth involvement in UN processes.

From left to right: Raymond Ratti, Kirsy Munoz, Yamile Eusebio, Ambassador Cuello, Lorena Rodriguez and Felipe Cuello

The impetus behind the organization of the event was the successful implementation of the
Youth Delegates Program by the Dominican Republic. Via a highly competitive process of evaluations, the first Youth Delegation of the Dominican Republic was selected, comprised of three promising students: Alejandro Javier, Sabrina Rivas and Yismelle Rubio. Following his experience, Youth Delegate Alejandro Javier commented, “It was an unforgettable experience, where the empowerment of youth diplomats became more than simple words, but actions for the betterment of the world and
future generations."

The planning process for the Youth Delegates Programme in the Dominican Republic was spearheaded by Executive Director of the United Nations Association of the Dominican Republic, Pilar Sandoval. “The Youth Delegation Programme is without a doubt one of the most beautiful projects I’ve helped coordinate,” expressed Sandoval in a statement. “At UNA-DR, we have always sought to create and identify spaces
for Dominican students to participate in opportunities, where they can grow on a personal and academic level. Inclusion of youth within decision-making spaces is vital for the development of progressive policies in the realm of international relations. The Youth Delegation Programme is perhaps the most iconic of all platforms for young leaders to partake in, and it fills me with pride to have paved the way for Dominican students to speak on behalf of their peers at the United Nations
General Assembly, airing the concerns and proposals of our region’s future leaders.”

A promotional flyer of the Side Event

The coordination of the panel was part of a greater commitment of GFDD, FUNGLODE and UNA-DR to contribute to the United Nations’ agenda of work. In 2004, GFDD and FUNGLODE were admitted to the United Nations System as institutions with consultative status, joining the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Department of Public Information (DPI), the Global Compact Office (UNGC), and the World Summit
on the Information Society (WSIS).