This is an old version of our website and it is no longer updated. For more updated information, please check our new website

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 handing Ahmad Alhendawi, Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, the “Youth and New Urban Agenda” report.

  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, YAB representative, receiving her award from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, United Kingdom.

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, YAB representative, receiving his Young Distinguished Award 2016 from the University of Palestine.

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.

“The University of Palestine congratulates Engineer Hussein Murtaja for winning and representing the Arab region in the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board” reads the plaque.











Youth Advisory Board Members (2015-2017)

Hussein Nabil Murtaja
AGE: 28
COUNTRY: Palestine
REGION: Arab Region
ORGANIZATION: Gaza Group of Culture and Development

Hussein Nabil Murtaja became a spokesman for victims of wars and armed conflicts after he was shot in 2006. He later established a youth letters group that has implemented many activities for the empowerment of marginalized groups within the society, many of them in cooperation with the United Nation organizations.
In 2012, he was involved in the first ever Palestinian Model United Nations that helped enhancing the concept of constructive dialogue, respect for others and spread the idea of a society free of violence.
Currently, Hussein is coordinator for projects at the Gaza Group of Culture and Development and director of the economic empowerment project for poor families in the Gaza Strip. In April 2016, Hussein participated in the “A Home We Live in Innovative” workshop which gathered young people from Egypt, the Gaza Strip and Palestine. The workshop enlightened the participants on the importance of keeping the city clean and led to a discussion on the ‘city they need’.
In 2016, he was selected by former UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon as a member of a committee that carried out a progress study on Youth, Peace and Security.  Hussein has also represented Palestine in many international conferences. His work and impact in the community didn’t go unrecognized as he received the Young Distinguished Award 2016 by the University of Palestine on the 27th of June 2016. Hussein has a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a Higher Diploma in Applications and Entrepreneurship.

Hung Vo
AGE: 24
COUNTRY: United States of America
REGION: North America
ORGANIZATION: United States Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Development

Hung is a student in Urban and Regional Studies at Cornell University and a researcher in the field of community planning and development, with his recent coauthored paper appearing in the Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards. He currently works for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Development, while being a Regional Contributor for North America for the upcoming 6th edition of the UNEP Global Environment Outlook and a blogger for the Huffington Post,
In the past, Hung was the Director of Policy of the International Youth Council, the alumni organization of the largest youth delegation to the UN. Hung has been a moderator for a My World 2015 consultation on “disadvantaged children and young people living in urban areas” and the Lead Focal Point for the UN Open Working Group topic of “sustainable human settlements.” In 2014, he was invited by the Youth Ministry of Sri Lanka to attend the World Conference on Youth as an International Facilitator for the theme of “Environmental Protection, Emergency Preparedness, and Youth-centered Urbanization.” Hung has been a speaker at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Emerging Global Leaders Seminar, the Youth Assembly at the United Nations and TEDx. He was the recipient of the Nebraska Governor’s Points of Light Award in 2013.
Among various International conferences he has attended, Hung was a moderator in a New York City Urban Thinkers Campus which engaged various stake holders and young people. He was also engaged in the United Nations World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul which addressed issues on humanitarianism and urbanization. In 2016, Hung participated in the Habitat III conference which took place in Quito, Ecuador on the 20th-24th October. He represented the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Members in the YoutHab Conference and Pop-Urbanism event as a moderator. In addition, with over 30 articles, Habitat III event and the New Urban Agenda enlightenment was enhanced by Hung Vo through the Huffington Post.

Margaret Koli
AGE: 28
REGION: Africa
ORGANIZATION: Human needs Project

Margaret works with the Human Needs Project – Kibera Town Center, a social enterprise based in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya. HNP is dedicated to building self-sustaining Town Centers in slums around the world. Centers that will prosper far into the future by working in complete partnership with local community to find the best solutions for the unique challenges they encounter.
She graduated with distinction from the UNESCO Chair for Peace, International Master’s programme on Peace, Conflict and Development (Universitat Jaume I, Spain), where she focused on sustainable development and natural resource management. She then worked with MSF – Spain to give human resource support to missions in Africa.
Margaret previously held the highly-regarded position of United Nations Environment Programme – Tunza Advisor for Africa. Margaret’s role within this global platform was to advise UNEP on how to better engage young people in environmental activities.
It was during her term as a UNEP – Tunza advisor that she got to engage with some of the inspirational environmental leaders who have ignited her passion for this field: former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, the late Prof. Wangari Maathai, HSH Prince Albert of Monaco, ministers of the European Parliament amongst others. Margaret has also been involved with initiatives by United Religions Initiative, Green Peace- Solar Generation initiative and Africa Youth Environment network.
Besides her passion for the environment, Margaret has engaged herself in activities promoting urban sustainable development. A good example is her support in the 2016 Urban Street Festival in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum. In addition, Margaret with her African Youth Advisory Board representative counterpart, Josias were the voice of African youth during the first ever World  Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey.
Margaret has published in various academic journals and periodicals on the environment. She has also won various awards & scholarships by the Aspen Institute and Luo Hong Foundation. She communicates fluently in Kiswahili, Meru, French, English, Spanish and Kenyan Sign Language.

NAME: S M Shaikat
AGE: 25
COUNTRY: Bangladesh
REGION: Asia and the Pacific

Shaikat is working in a youth-led organization called SERAC-Bangladesh. He has been working on youth leadership, economic empowerment and gender violence prevention, and human rights in Bangladesh for more than a decade. Under his leadership, SERAC was awarded the 2010 UN-Habitat Youth Fund grant which empowered 50 disadvantaged young women by providing life skills training. This innovation was also awarded with the EarthTalent grant in 2013. The project continues providing training to 50 disadvantaged young women slum dwellers every year in Mymensingh.
As a youth change-maker, Shaikat has been nominated as one of the 100 global young leaders by Women Deliver in 2013, and he has trained up 650 young volunteers to prevent gender violence through his global idea winning project Jagoroni in Bangladesh.
Shaikat has been leading a number of youth dialogues in Bangladesh and globally. He was the moderator at the Bangladesh country working group at the 11th International Dialogue on Youth and Employment held in Berlin in 2013. He was also nominated by the US State Department to the International Visitors Leadership Programme in 2013. Shaikat was a panelist speaker at several youth panel events at the 69th UN General Assembly in 2014. He is also the President at APACT Youth Action Network, Advisor to Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS, and Ambassador at Young Men for Gender Equality.
He received the International Human Rights Training in Canada during June, 2015. Shaikat was also nominated to the Asian Young Leader for Democracy programme in the same year. For a clear vision and dedication for youth development and social change, Shaikat was mentioned in the UNESCO magazine Blue Dots among 13 global youth voices in February, 2015.

NAME: Katerina Gavrielidou
AGE: 26
REGION: Europe
ORGANIZATION: Cyprus Youth Council

Katerina is a young leader from Cyprus, passionate about youth empowerment, urban affairs and youth participation. Katerina is currently a Learner at the World Innovation Summit for Education – WISE, after serving as Youth Ambassador at the Cyprus Youth Council, representing Cypriot and European youth on local, national and international youth summits.
In 2014 she was officially nominated by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus to represent her country at the World Conference on Youth in Colombo, Sri Lanka. During the UN-style negotiations, Katerina achieved the incorporation of key resolutions pertinent to Full Employment and Entrepreneurship in the Colombo Declaration on Youth. Earlier, she completed 33Fifty – the Commonwealth Youth Leadership Programme for young Commonwealth leaders aged 18-25, and was a delegate of the Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations at Harvard, Dubai and Tokyo.
Formerly, she interned at the European Parliament in Brussels, and specialized in Emerging Markets finance at Edmond de Rothschild in London. She has written numerous essays on youth unemployment; women’s rights and political philosophy published in, amongst other journals, the Oxford Philosophical Society Review.
Katerina is educated at the London School of Economics with a MSc in Politics and Government in the EU, and the University of Lancaster with a BSc in Business Studies obtained with Honors.
The World Economic Forum named Katerina a Global Shaper for her services in the European youth field in 2015. Katerina’s zeal and work in the community caught the attention of  Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England who awarded her the Queen’s Young Leaders Award  on the 30th of June, 2016.

As her dedication to her continuous community work, Katerina initiated the European Cyprus Society whose opening evening event on the 31st of January, 2017 was graced by prominent delegates. Among them were: the Ambassador of France to Cyprus Mr. Rene Troccaz; Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of Venezuela in Cyprus Mr. Jeanpier Anaya Salas; and the Presidential Commissioner for Volunteering and NGOs.

NAME: Jonas Freist-Held
AGE: 23
COUNTRY: Germany
REGION: Europe
ORGANIZATION: Plan International

Jonas is a Masters student of Human Rights and Humanitarian Action at Sciences Po Paris and the Free University Berlin. Prior he studied Political Science at the Free University in Berlin and the University of California, Berkeley. He specializes in international relations, developmental politics, democracy and global governance. After graduating from high school in 2011, he moved to Nicaragua and volunteered for an environmental education organization in the city of León. During the year, he participated in a project that sought to create a green town district in León in cooperation with the municipality, local schools and youth groups. Together they constructed a recycling park and designed murals out of recycling materials.
Since 2013, he is the representative of the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) of the child rights organization Plan International Germany. The board carried out successful campaigns on gender equality and universal birth registration and currently launched a campaign on climate change. In November 2014, he presented the “Make Me Visible” Campaign on birth registration at an UN ESCAP-conference on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in Bangkok. The campaign is an example how youth advocacy can have an impact in decision-making processes. During his time in the USA (8/2014 – 5/2015), he was part of the YAB of Plan USA and helped to launch a university chapter of Plan at UC Berkeley.
Jonas played a major role in Habitat III conference held in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016 leading to the inclusion of youth in the New Urban Agenda. Apart from participating in the YoutHab conference, Jonas eloquence in Spanish and translation skills contributed in making the unplanned Pop-Urbanism event a success during Habitat III. He was also invited as one of 50 youth activists by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development to a two-day Workshop in Munich on Germany’s role in implementing the SDGs. In 2017, Jonas was invited by UNDESA as a panelist for the side event on disability inclusive urban development.

Besides his studies, he works as a student assistant in corporate communication at the research institute Fraunhofer FOKUS that aims to develop smart city concepts. The applied research aims to facilitate life in growing cities with the help of innovative IT solutions.

NAME: Maria Difallah
AGE: 26
COUNTRY: Algeria
REGION: Arab States
ORGANIZATION: Setif Empower Youth Association (SEYA)

Maria is a medical doctor and human rights educator. She was the founder and President of Setif Empower youth Association. Maria’s work with SEYA involved developing programmes for promoting sustainable education, and entrepreneurial skills for young people. These programmes focus on building cultural competence, self-efficacy, and persistence, to promote self-determination skills and community empowerment. She is deeply concerned with issues of social justice and human rights in Arab and African countries. She has conducted research in the area of Women rights with focus on genital female mutilation during her fellowship at human rights center in Beirut, Lebanon.
Most recently, she joined the Algerian Assembly of Youth (RAJA) as an event coordinator where she has participated in organizing the Afro-Arab Youth Dialogue, the Arab Youth Forum in Algiers. She is also the Secretary-General of North Africa International Model United Nations –NAIMUN where she co-chaired the first Model African Union in Europe focusing on ‘‘Creation a decent job opportunities for young Africans’’ at UN headquarters Vienna, Austria. She believes every young person is a stakeholder to the development of any nation and for the world to experience substantial change, young people have to rise up to this responsibility.

NAME: Badi Zárate Khalili
AGE: 22
REGION: Latin America and the Caribbean
ORGANIZATION: International Bahá’i Community

Badi is a youth leader and community developer. Hecurrentlystudies Urbanism at the University of Guadalajara and is the regional delegate for the National Design, Urbanism and Planning Student Association. He is an activist for the right to the city, through his membership and volunteer work in different local, national and international organizations and state and municipal government agencies, focusing his expertise and recent research in youth and junior youth capacity building and mobilization, governance and public participation, metropolitan and regional studies, human rights protection, water management, social entrepreneurship, amongst other things. As a student leader, he has encouraged and now manages a network between different schools/institutions and students based on their individual capacities and interests. Additionally, he has worked on the promotion of youth volunteer participation in urban education for children projects, public participation systems, urban cycling activism, as well as Model United Nations.
He has served as a volunteer in the social action programmes carried on by the International Bahá’i Community for over seven years, which include his participation as an animator of youth empowerment groups, a children’s class teacher of moral and spiritual education, and a tutor of capacity for service development courses in different communities around the globe. Living in Canada, Israel, Mexico and Chile and being the son of an indigenous Mexican man and a naturalized Iranian mother has helped him understand the importance of unity in diversity and the key role that youth play to gain momentum for a world in development.

NAME: Anoka Primrose Abeyrathne
AGE: 24
COUNTRY: Sri Lanka
REGION: Asia and the Pacific
ORGANIZATION: International Bahá’i Community

Anoka is an environmental conservationist, eco-social entrepreneur and youth policy advocate, passionate about education and sustainable urban development. She is the youngest female recipient of the Commonwealth Youth Award for Excellence in Development, a Global Youth Ambassador with the Office of the UN Special Envoy on Global Education, A World At School and the Office of Sarah and Gordon Brown. She was featured in the List of the 25 Most Influential and Powerful Young Persons of the World 2012 by Huffington Post and Youth Service America. Recognized as a British Council International Climate Champion and Global Change maker, Anoka’s urban sustainability efforts as the Executive Director of Growin’ Money – Sustain has led to over 40,000 replanted Mangroves and a social enterprise/education programme helping over 5,000 villagers in Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Cambodia with over 20,000 volunteers. Anoka believes in the power of education and provides access to education through social entrepreneurial skills building for better community based sustainable urban development.
Anoka is one of the first and youngest World Economic Forum Global Shapers in Sri Lanka and a Royal Commonwealth Society Associate Fellow. She is the youngest of the 12 Shapers on the United Nations-World Economic Forum Sustainable Development Council working on mainstreaming sustainability with the Post 2015 Development Agenda. She is also the Deputy Focal point of the Commonwealth Students Association in Sri Lanka. In partnership with Shaikat, her Asia-Pacific Youth Advisory Board representative counterpart, Anoka influenced the National Policy for Environmental Rights in Sri Lanka.
Anoka graduated with a LLB (Hons) from the University of London and is reading for her Masters in Developmental Economics through the University of Colombo.

NAME: Debora Leao
AGE: 25
REGION: Latin America and the Caribbean

Debora was born in São Paulo. She co-founded Engajamundo, a non-profit youth-led organization that seeks to empower and engage youth in international policymaking processes. With a passion for youth empowerment and building a sustainable future for our world, she has been engaged in nation-wide networks dedicated to promoting social entrepreneurship and empowerment of youth in Brazil from her early years of university.
She began her engagement in UN processes in 2012, as co-founder of the University Committee for Rio+20 in São Paulo. This Committee was an outreach project focused on engaging and mobilizing students of the city in the environmental debates taking place in the context of the conference. As part of the executive board of Engajamundo, she has worked as Communications Coordinator for the past two years. She has also taken roles in different advocacy, lobbying and outreach activities of the organization, especially those related to the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and Habitat III. Through her work in the latter, she attended the Habitat III Prep Com 2 and has recently been elected Deputy Organizing Partner of the Habitat III Working Group of the UN Major Group on Children and Youth. She was also a part of the Brazilian delegation to the Mercosul Social Summit in 2014.
Previous to her work in Engajamundo, she worked as consultant at the British Consulate in São Paulo and as advisor at the Brazil Permanent Mission to the UN, in NYC.

NAME:Olivia Labonté
AGE: 24
REGION: North America
ORGANIZATION: Young Diplomats of Canada

Olivia Labonté is an urban economist with a passion for integrating youth in sustainable urban development. She has advised and worked with a number of local and international institutions, including the OECD, the World Bank Group, the United Nations Foundation and the Parliament of Canada.
She is currently the Programme Director of Young Diplomats of Canada—a non-profit organization that advocates for youth-inspired public policies, by enabling young Canadian leaders to participate at the highest level of diplomatic negotiations.
In 2014, Olivia represented Canada at the Y20 Summit—a meeting of the official youth engagement group of the G20. Along with delegates from around the world, she produced a cohesive policy framework in the form of a communiqué that addressed the challenges faced by the global youth, which was then presented to global leaders at the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia.
Thereafter, she was invited to be a panelist at the 2014 Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the IMF, where she presented the youth perspective on rising unemployment at a civil society roundtable. During Habitat III Conference, Olivia participated in the event not only as a UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board member but also as a member of the Canada official delegation that was headed by Canadian Minister of Social Development, Children and Families, the Hon. Yves Duclos. She played a key role in the Pop-Up Urbanism event as a key speaker and also in the YoutHab conference which led to the production of the LGBTI Declaration draft.
Olivia completed her undergraduate degree in economics and business with distinction, and is now pursuing her Master’s in applied economics. Her thesis focuses on finding solutions to sustainable development challenges caused by rapidly increasing urban populations in emerging nations. At present, her research has led her to South Africa, where she is compiling place-making and urban development insights for Our Future Cities—an NPO that seeks to democratize urban planning.
The knowledge and experience that Olivia has developed from her academic research and professional activities have the potential to become an efficacious voice for the urban youth perspective within the UN-Habitat.

NAME:Phares Monsan Josias Ambeu
AGE: 29
COUNTRY: Côte d’Ivoire
REGION: Africa

Josias is currently the Internship Programme Director with AIESEC in Côte d’Ivoire. He has over four years’ experience working on youth development and internships Programmes. In 2013-2014 under his leadership, the Local Committee AIESEC Cocody in Côte d’Ivoire was created. This led to AIESEC Côte d’Ivoire being awarded the Africa Award of Relative and Absolute growth in Africa.
Josias has good understanding of global youth issues through his work with youth from various countries including those from Hungary, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Algeria, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Nigeria, Belgium and Liberia. As a result, Josias in partnership with Margaret Koli initiated a radio programme known as #FridayChange on JAM FM, one of Cote d’Ivoire’s national media houses. The programme engages young people in the African continent every Friday on issues or topics that are crucial to their urban development. Parallel to the programme, the youth are engaged on twitter @fridchange.
Josias played a key role on the road towards youth inclusion in the New Urban Agenda in 2016 by participating in the 2nd African Urban Youth Assembly in Abuja, Nigeria. In addition, he has participated in more than 20 conferences in which he has participated as a special guest and African representative in addressing youth and urban development issues.
At home, he advises individual youth and youth-led organizations on entrepreneurship, personal development and provides them with training and coaching. Josias is a Telecommunication engineer with interests in project management, digital marketing, administration and public relations. He speaks French and English has basic knowledge in Spanish and Russian.

Thematic Advisors (2015-2017)

NAME: Julio Limo
AGE: 29
ADVISOR:Housing Advisor

Julio has always believed in the power of change of young people. He has worked with more than 30,000 young volunteers that like him have the desire to change the world. He wants to continue this trail.
He has a degree in IT for Business Management and has worked in the private sector for six years, while he developed projects as a volunteer. He coordinated online courses for young social entrepreneurs at the international NGO Youth Action for Change and was volunteer coordinator of digital communications and institutional development at the NGO TECHO for two years. In 2011, Julio decided to devote himself fully to social causes and assume the role of Director at TECHO, an international non-profit organization that has conducted projects in more than 100 slums and currently carries out community development programmes in 30 communities in Brazil. TECHO has mobilized more than 30,000 young volunteers since 2006 in Brazil. Julio has led initiatives on volunteering programmes planning and design, volunteers recruitment and development, the emergency housing programme (2,000 in total, more than 1,500 since 2011) and now leads the Brazilian operation of TECHO as the National Social Director.
Julio coordinated the participation of TECHO during the fifth World Urban Forum in 2010 and participated in a debate on access to energy and relations with local authorities in the context of Rio+20 in an event at the Favela Mata Machado and also assisted the Peoples Summit Rio+20.
Julio is a 2015 fellow of the Ford Motor Company and 92nd Street Y, a global network of 320 social entrepreneurs from 74 countries.

Amir Ben Ameur
AGE: 20
COUNTRY: Tunisia
ADVISOR:Post Conflict Advisor

Amir Ben Ameur is a young Tunisian social activist, who advocates for youth development and democracy. Amir currently studies Economics and Political Science at the American University in Cairo as Middle-East Partnership Initiative Tomorrow’s Leaders fellow. Amir has taken part in Youth Leadership Programme for Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia.
In March 2012 Amir founded WeYouth, a non-governmental organization that promotes youth participation in decision-making, leadership, education, and civic engagement. He has directed several projects within his organization on gender advocacy, government transparency, and political accountability, and delivered trainings on leadership and youth development. Amir is also an American Middle Eastern Network for Dialogue at Stanford fellow, serving as member of UNGLS steering committee. He was the chairman of a national campaign that aimed to provide information and raise awareness on the 2014 electoral process, targeting citizens located in neglected rural areas of Tunisia, which was funded by UNDP and MEPI (State Department). Amir is also a charter member of World Learning INC Global Advisory Board. He has attended several national and international conferences and trainings on Youth advocacy, sustainable development, and social entrepreneurship in Turkey, Jordan, USA, France, Egypt and Italy. Amir’s work on youth didn’t go unrecognized as in March, 2016, he was awarded by the Arab African Youth Council in the framework of their conference on ‘addressing the radicalization in Africa: issues and solutions” in Tunis. He is further recognized for his contribution of UN Habitat Arab States regional offices set up in Tunisia and Algeria and also a sub-regional office in Tunis covering North Africa region.  He has participated in various International conferences, the POLIS180 Workshop held in Berlin in 2016 being the most memorable where he was a key speaker on the issue of “Youth in Conflict”. He also participated in the UN Expert Group Meetings held in Barcelona and Cairo in 2016. Recently, Amir was invited to participate in the ECOSOC Youth 2017 forum on the theme, “The role of youth in poverty eradication and promoting prosperity in a changing world”

James Aniyamuzaala Rwampigi
AGE: 32
ADVISOR: Disabilities Advisor
ORGANIZATION: African Youth with Disabilities Network

James is a hearing-impaired rights expert, researcher and independent advisor on accessible information and communication standards for persons with disabilities. He holds a Master’s degree in humanitarian action from the University of Geneva, a Bachelor degree in economics as well as a Human Rights fellowship training certificate from Columbia University, New York. He has worked with grassroots, National, regional and international organizations, especially organizations of persons with disabilities. He has worked with youth with physical disability development to support inclusion of youth with disabilities in local government programmes. James worked with National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda to establish an organizational youth policy, a database and supported the establishment of grassroots youth with disabilities in northern Uganda, empowered them to be included in the post war northern Uganda rehabilitation programmes. He Monitors and advises on inclusion of persons with disabilities in government and non-governmental programmes as a member of the National council for persons with disabilities of Uganda for the years 2012-2016. He has worked as co-researcher and consultant for UNICEF Uganda and produced a research report on situation of Children living with disabilities in Uganda. James was among the experts that contributed to the development of the African Union Decade of persons with disabilities plan of action, African Protocol on rights of persons with disabilities and review of the African Rehabilitation institute.
In 2015, James participated in the Disability Rights expert in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs(UNDESA) Forum on Disability and Development with a focus on disability inclusion and accessible urban development in Nairobi. He played a key role in the drafting of the Disability Inclusive World Urban agenda. During Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador, James participated in the UNDESA-UN-Habitat and government of Ecuador side event on Disability Inclusive World Urban Agenda and also participated in the World Urban Campaign.
He has written a number of papers and has been published in the Oxford Journal of Human Rights Practice. James addressed the 65th UN general assembly of issues of youth with disabilities during the United Nations High level meeting on Youth. He is one of the founding members of the African Youth with Disabilities Network and the African Disability Forum.

Lama AlGhalib Alsharif
AGE: 26
COUNTRY: Saudi Arabia
ADVISOR: Future Saudi Cities Programme Advisor

Lama, a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and friend, has led the volunteer-based life of a social activist. Beginning at the age of seventeen, she has been selected as a youth representative of Saudi Arabia at several conferences and seminars, including the Two Kingdoms Conference in London, England; the 63rd UN General Assembly Conference in New York, USA; the World Economic Forum in Amman, Jordan; the Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue Center in Vienna, Austria.
She graduated with a BS in management information systems from Dar Al-Hekma University, and she earned a diploma in international relations and diplomacy from Tufts University. She also recently completed her Masters of Arts in international relations from Dar Alhekma University.
Lama is a poet, and her first volume of poetry was published in 2006. Her second volume of poetry “Swimming in the Desert- The Uncensored Poetry of a Saudi Social Activist was published in 2014.
She is the founder and manager of Shababuna, a non-profit organization that focuses on youth empowerment through awareness in five different sectors.
For more information about Lama, please visit (!about/c786)

Main Menu