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Youth Advisory Board
The Journey of UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board 2015-2017
“A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in mission can alter the course of history”, said Mahatma Gandhi in his all-time popular quotes. These words can best be associated with the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board. Passion, leadership and excellence are just some of the few words to describe the 16 members of the Youth Advisory Board.
The UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board (YAB) was established in 2008 at the World Urban Forum IV in China and launched in 2009 at the 22nd session of the UN-Habitat Governing Council. It is a two-year term board comprising of 16 young people (18-32 years) who project the views of the urban youth for integration into the UN-Habitat urban strategy and work programme. The 16 board advisors comprise of 12 elected members from the six continents of the world and 4 nominated representatives on special issues of housing, post conflict, Future Saudi Cities Programme and youth with disabilities. Their role is to: represent the young people in local, national and international forums; advise the organization on how to engage urban youth in sustainable urbanization and development; and strengthen youth participation and advocacy in youth-led initiatives.
Through their elective term, the 2015-2017 YAB members have made tremendous achievements in the society which not only have they been recognized by international organizations but also local and national governments as well as learning institutions. Having been elected at a crucial time which saw the establishment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 17) and the Habitat III which took place in October 2016 in Quito, Ecuador, YAB representatives have been involved in engaging young people on the ground and high level meetings so as to input the views of these young people into the New Urban Agenda. Today, we celebrate the following YAB representatives:
Hung Vo, Youth Advisory Board representative for North America is an exemplary leader whose efforts and writing skills have seen him secure a platform in the Huffington Post, an American online blog. Through this platform, Hung Vo, enlightens the public and, especially, youth on their responsibility in enhancing sustainable development and urbanization. In addition, Hung Vo, was critically involved in the production of ‘Youth and New Urban Agenda’ report which was a crucial guideline on youth and urbanization during Habitat III and for the next two decades.
Katerina Gavrielidou, Youth Advisory Board representative for Europe, is one strong lady whose zeal and work in the community caught the attention of the Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England. On 30th June, 2016 Katerina was awarded the Queen’s Young Leaders Award by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.
Hussein Murtaja, Youth Advisory Board representative for Arab states, is another young leader who received a Young Distinguished Award 2016 from the University of Palestine on the 27th of June 2016. In addition, through the young leader, a partnership was forged between the UN-Habitat and the University of Victoria with an aim of engaging young people in Palestine in sustainable urban development.