Monday, September 27, 2010

Young Leaders

I went to an event last week that was so exciting to be a part of. The International Youth Council is an organization that was started by Jamie Ansorge and Esperanza Garcia (and others) who met at the UN Youth Assembly in 2007. IYC engages young leaders from around the world who are involved in international policy change, political advocacy and training.  Esperanza graciously spent her birthday fundraising to "Support Global South Youth in Climate Change." The fundraising efforts will go to help youth delegates attend the UNFCCC COP16 conference in Cancun, Mexico.  The goal is to help youth from developing countries, those who are affected by climate change the most, have stronger representation in international climate negotiations.

Totally out of my league, it was incredible to witness this event.  Each speaker shared passionate and inspiring stories, we were honored by the presence of Ambassador Oscar de Rojas, Director of the Financing for Development Office UNDESA, who echoed our thoughts about youth leadership.  Young leaders have an energy and an idealism that is unparalleled by most.  We have an optimism that carries us through seemingly impossible or unrealistic change.  We have an energy that radiates and involves and inspires others to jump on the bandwagon, follow suit, or start their own revolution.  That's exactly what the people in that room were doing last week.  I was incredibly grateful to be validated and recognized for the work that I am doing as a young leader.  It is admittedly intimidating to walk into a room of people like this, but what they did was recognize what common ground we have, rather than stereotyping me as a "beauty queen."  They understand and support the platform that the Miss America Organization brings to young women as an opportunity to speak and affect change on passionate issues.  For this, I am so thankful.  And for the inspiration with which they left me, I am eternally grateful.

About International Youth Council

Our mission is to bring together and support young leaders from around the world in pursuit of partnership, progress, and the Millennium Development Goals. We seek to empower the next generation of leaders by providing them with the training, resources, and opportunities they need to succeed. We also advocate for an official body representative of the youth within the United Nations power structure. We hope to inspire the youth of the world to act and give them the tools to make a difference. Our belief is that the problems of tomorrow, our generation, and our interests are not adequately represented. As capable advocates of the future, we wish to ensure that the leaders of today leave a world worthy of our inheritance tomorrow. Through the commonality, enthusiasm, and idealism of youth, we can overcome national and international differences. We will advocate for policies that will benefit every future generation in the name of peace, progress, and sustainability.

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