UN Youth Assembly 2016 - ‘Seychellois youths deserve to go far’ | 29 August 2016
“Seychellois youths deserve the best and deserve to go far with the Seychelles flag.”
Such is the belief of young Seychellois Annarose Clarisse who recently had the opportunity to attend the United Nations Youth Assembly which took place from August 10-12 at the UN headquarters in New York.
The conference aims to develop young people to succeed at social ventures and to educate, discuss and suggest innovative ways to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030.
The UN youth assembly is a global conference that gathers youths from all over the world twice a year (in winter and summer). It takes place at the UN headquaters and depending on the package a delegate pays for, he or she may benefit from other opportunities such as visiting permanent missions, working for social ventures or going for world bank seminars.
Ms Clarisse, a 22-year-old Seychelloise from La Misère, recently completed her LLB Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of Seychelles and will graduate in December this year. She was also recently employed as a financial services analyst in the policy department at the Central Bank of Seychelles.
She says she is passionate about youth empowerment, human rights and advocating positive psychology.
The global sustainable development goals which she’s focused on is quality education (No. 4), peace & justice (No. 16) and global partnerships (No. 17).
In her own words, Ms Clarisse relates how she got to take part in the assembly as well as her experiences there.
“I found out about this opportunity on facebook and became instantly interested. Having studied public international law, such a conference is the only way I could experience what I studied. Everything stated in the programme excited me as I learned more about it. I was also already well versed on the 17 SDGs and passionate about some so such event would connect me with the right people to achieve these goals and be able to assess the best ways to tackle those SDGs or other social ventures.
“I applied on my own and I made my way to the USA. In my mind and heart I was representing Seychelles all the way. So yes I represented my country the best way I could. Very few people knew about it, what matters was whether they were proud after.
“I was also representing the University of Seychelles as an enrolled student. And I appreciated their support throughout my journey.
“I landed in New Jersey on August 5 and for four days we worked on a social venture as a team. This was both a competition and a learning platform.
I presented my initial Resolution project idea to my team since it was not feasible for me to pursue it at that time. My initial idea focused on positive psychology called the ‘Silver Lining Project’. As a group of 10 we shared our thoughts and we came up with a vision for a mentorship platform and a mission to tackle quality education in a unique way. We took second place out of 18 and this was a bigger achievement because we valued teamwork and collaboration. The judges were really impressed with us that they contemplated prizes that were not mentioned before which were financial support and mentorship sustenance by the University of Farleigh Dickinson. Then we left to attend the UN youth assembly on August 10 and it was a three-day event with workshops and seminars referring to various topics for instance social entrepreneurship and different SDGs. Opening remarks and closing speeches were very inspiring and made me feel privileged to be part of such audience. Some in particular that struck me was a speech by Monique Coleman, UN youth Campion of 2010 American actress, dancer, singer, entrepreneur and philanthropist famous for her co-starring role in Disney’s High School musical movies.
“From day one we’ve been learning about various countries, cultures, project ventures, making loads of friends and connections. We visited the Canadian mission and attended a gala at the Korean permanent mission. We met people with different projects and networked, attended workshops. I even got the chance to visit Seychelles’ permanent mission and it was my pleasure to represent Seychelles and each time I introduced myself people became excited. Some of us also attended a seminar at the World Bank on eradicating poverty, climate change and sustainable living, and fraud and corruption. We had a DC tour and visited the White House, Smithsonian Museum, the Capitol Hill and many more.
While there I found so many opportunities for Seychelles, the youth and the university.
“This experience had already marked me even before I arrived. The path that I launched myself into before I came were two months of hard work, negotiations and seeking for sponsors. I acquired and developed great skills from this, public speaking, negotiations, being innovative and proactive.
“Although this has benefitted me it should be underlined that it is a greater benefit for Seychelles and the potential of youngsters here. All along I networked for ways to improve these and ways to establish a programme that will facilitate this for others at least once a year, because getting there was not easy and was very expensive.
“Honestly being at the UN, the place where most world decisions is taken, the people around you with that fire to change the world is one of the greatest feelings. However, for me the best feeling was receiving my laws final result at the General Assembly Hall and finding out I passed.
“I will take this opportunity to thank my supporters and I stress on this because without them I would have never made it. These are companies who believed in me and did their best to help me one way or another, government bodies who did also walk behind me and especially family and friends who both helped, believed and sustained my positive attitude. I am very appreciative of 99 Shipchandler’s contribution, Roy & Sons Company, Sterling Trust & Fiduciary Limited and the University of Seychelles. A big thank you to the Seychelles National Youth Council (SNYC) as well for its endless support.
“I will conclude with this message for the youth: we have so much potential and I know this for sure. However, we lack the global vision, the world citizen identity and if we let this pass we will be letting so many opportunities slip away. Hence I would like to implement a programme to facilitate access to such opportunities, whether it is paid for or not. We deserve the best and we are wonderful youths, and all of you deserve to go far with the Seychelles flag.”
Accompanying the article are some photographs of Annarose at the UN Youth Assembly 2016.