First UN DPI/NGO Youth-led Briefing

By June 17, 2013No Comments

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Raising and Empowering Youth to Break the Cycle of Violence

Against Women and Children

25 March 2013 

UN DPI NGO Youth Representatives led the 25 March Briefing entitled Raising and Empowering Youth to Break the Cycle of Violence Against Women and Children. This Briefing was the “first ever to be led by NGO Youth Representatives to the Department of Public Information. Its main focus centered on ways in which youth can contribute to efforts toward the elimination of violence against women and children.”

Ahmad Alhendawi, the newly appointed UN Youth Envoy, made the opening remarks.  He shared statistics and spoke on the complexity of youth issues and of the need to give youth a voice throughout the UN. His priorities this year will be youth employment and civic engagement.  Youth Representative Katrina Martinez (Association for Trauma Outreach and Prevention) outlined the four topics to be covered during the briefing: domestic and sexual violence, gender-based discrimination, the socio-economic impact of violence against women and children, and legislative boundaries already in place to broaden protection and establish the eradication of violence as a state priority. Youth Representative Gina Leow (The Ribbon International) was the moderator.

The panelists’ presentations were followed by an exercise designed to prompt the audience to recognize the social, economic, political circumstances and personal experiences within or beyond our control. A series of statements was read and everyone was invited to stand if they agreed or remain seated if they disagreed. Then a visual tally was noted. Some of the statements were: there were more than 50 books in my home growing up; I grew up seeing gender diversity in government, state, and/or community leadership roles; when I was growing up I was encouraged to go to vocational school or pursue higher education; I feel safe reporting to a designated hospital or law enforcement official if I or someone else is a victim of sexual assault; I believe that my vote counts.  We all realized through our individual and group responses that we came from different backgrounds and cultures and had personal and sometimes widely varying experiences.

Many of the statements highlighted influences in our lives we had no control over; however, once aware of them, participants could gain insights into personal behavior and access to opportunities.  The exercise helped develop a greater sense of understanding of how we use privilege and responsibility and how this can be put to good use in our respective NGOs.

The briefing was a great experience for participants as well as for those who organized the briefing to make it such an incredible success.  A special thank you to fellow planning team Youth Reps Anjanae Wilson (Close the Gap) and Tevia Clarke (New York Association for American-Russian Relations).  Additionally, thank you to the UN DPI/NGO Relations Office, the DPI Resource Centre, and the DPI NGO Youth Representatives for their continuing support of the Youth Rep Program.

Kamila Jacob
Envoy Outreach Coordinator
Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office

For the full DPI/NGO Relations account, please visit:


To view the full briefing on UN Web TV, please visit: http://webtv.un.org/watch/empowering-youth-to-be-agents-of-change-in-eradicating-poverty/1859230360001