Sun | Nov 17, 2019

UNESCO Youth Ambassadors Programme promotes nation-building

Published:Monday | October 14, 2019 | 12:24 AM
UNESCO youth ambassadors pose with Pearnel Charles Jr (second right) during a recent beach clean-up.
UNESCO youth ambassadors pose with Pearnel Charles Jr (second right) during a recent beach clean-up.

The UNESCO Youth Ambassadors Programme aims to produce exemplary student leaders who are equipped with the tools and the desire to impact society in a positive way. This year, youth ambassadors were selected based on a rigorous process, where exemplary community leaders were given the opportunity to represent UNESCO nationally. Essentially, the programme provides a platform for young persons to design and advocate for proposals geared towards Jamaica’s sustainable development.

Formally inducted in August 2019, this year’s cohort of ambassadors were immediately introduced to the tenets of service and networking opportunities through the speed mentorship session hosted by the organisation during the ambassadors’ induction.

At this activity, ambassadors had the opportunity to learn from important pioneers in respective fields that interested them, including politics, finance, business, arts, and communication. Session mentors included former Prime Minister Bruce Golding; British High Commissioner to Jamaica Asif Ahmad; singer and songwriter, Alaine Laughton, as well as Camielle ‘Empress’ Mullings.

Furthermore, ambassadors are also required to organise a project designed to impact society in a positive way. Proposed ideas from ambassadors include hosting seminars or participating in community development projects selected by the ambassadors themselves.

PREVIOUS ACTIVITIES

Previous successful activities that youth ambassadors have participated in includes UNESCO’s annual beach clean-up at Rocky Point in Clarendon on International Coastal Clean-up Day on September 21. They were also involved in the recently launched Water IQ Initiative organised by Pearnel Charles Jr, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

Going forward, project and communications director Aldon Currie, with guidance from chairman of the UNESCO Youth Advisory Council, Charles Jr, is engaging with key stakeholders to launch even more activities for ambassadors and volunteers to be a part of. This includes participating in the National Tree Planting Initiative, slated to begin on October 31. Ambassadors will also be involved in renovating three schools across the island.

Current UNESCO youth ambassador Sandrene McKenzie told The Gleaner, “The programme is all about service, community development and nation-building, so my hope is to harness my skills to aid in youth development across the island. I believe the programme is a diverse one, so I aim to find a new area of interest. I am also looking forward to learning more about culture, enhancing my knowledge and developing new skills in order to increase my efforts to enact change in Jamaica.”

For further information, the UNESCO Youth Ambassadors Programme can be contacted via Twitter at UNESCOJamaicaYouthNetwork, on Instagram at UNESCOJYN or on Facebook at UNESCO_Jamaica_Youth_Network.