| posted with permission of the author, thank you .|
Story of a Youth Delegate: Bremley W.B. Lyngdoh
|How were you appointed as an official Youth Delegate to the United Nations?|
I am very honored and privileged to be the first ever Youth Representative from India to be appointed by the Prime Minister to represent my country as part of the official government delegation at the historic Millennium Summit and Millennium Assembly which was held at the United Nations headquarters in September 2000.
I have been a member of the United Nations Student Association (UNSA) of India since I was 13, which is an affiliate organization of the Indian Federation of United Nations Associations (IFUNA). The Federation has representatives from 20 of the 25 states. The Federation is part of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) that has members in about 85 countries. I am also active in a large number of youth service organizations in the United States and coordinate projects for the Global Youth ACTION Network (GYAN). I have completed my internship at the United Nations headquarters in New York, working in the area of sustainable development. After my nomination, my organization sent my name to the Ministry of External Affairs and the Prime Minster's Office for approval. Upon clearance from the national delegation selection committee, my name was included as part of the Indian National delegation of the 55th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
What was your role as a youth delegate?
I was responsible for providing youth perspectives to assist my delegation in their consideration of agenda items, especially those relating to youth. While at the UN, I organized regular meetings with other Youth Representatives to develop an agenda of common priorities and aim to raise awareness of these issues through a series of meetings with UN bodies. Within my delegation, I attend a range of meetings, receptions and informal negotiations, as well as provided administrative assistance, including covering debates and formulating reports which were sent to my capital, New Delhi.
I followed the Second and Third Committee meetings, and delivered a statement on the theme "Creating Sustainable Livelihoods for Youth" to the Third Committee of the General Assembly on behalf of the youth of my country on the 28th September 2000. I believe that the meetings were effective. After hearing my statement, many government delegates and UN officials asked for further discussion and there were a lot of networking opportunities with the World Bank, UNDP, UNICEF, UNEP and ILO. I want to stress that it is just rhetoric until something concrete actually happens at the national and local level. I believe that the UN is getting better at focusing on youth issues but there needs to be follow-up on all the commitments that have been made in many past UN conferences. I am satisfied overall with the reforms and inclusive nature of the UN, but I would like to see the member states of the UN work as partners with their youth organizations without any conditions or restrictions. I made a suggestion that the UN Youth Unit should also make alumni lists of former youth representatives who can help new youth delegates network.
What did you do in your country after being a delegate?
After I returned home to India, I had to brief youth organizations, schools and colleges on what had I observed at the Third Committee meetings and what role I played in voicing the concerns of the 250 million youth of India at the UNGA. From my own observations and findings I strongly recommended to my government that it should maintain its policy of sending youth delegates to the UNGA in the future.
What can the United Nations learn from young people?
I believe that the UN can learn a lot from young people. For example, during the youth delegates short period of stay in New York, they were able to work together and organize meetings with many top UN and government officials. Youth have energy and spirit by working across boundaries, young people can share common interests the world over. I also feel that the youth can have a big impact if many countries send youth representatives to the meetings of the General Assembly. I think that it is important to have active and meaningful participation of youth in the UN system all levels of decision making processes.
I am striving very hard each day to balance my activism life with my academic life. Life is a constant journey for me, never a destination. So I live life to the fullest each day with honor, passion and adventure.