Aug 12, New York: United Nations mew Youth Envoy, Jayathma Wickramanayake says the global organization should be an inclusive system for all youth and her goal is to ensure that youth have a place in the United Nations.
Speaking to UN News, Wickramanayake, hailing from Sri Lanka, stressed that as Youth Envoy, she wants to ensure that all youth have a home at the United Nations and vowed to do everything in her capacity to strive towards making the UN an inclusive system in which all youth is welcomed.
The second-ever United Nations Youth Envoy before taking her role at the UN, worked in Sri Lanka to transform the youth development sector. From 2013 to 2015, she served as a Senator at the Sri Lankan Youth Parliament and from 2016 to 2017 as Secretary to the Secretary-General of the Parliament of Sri Lanka.
In an interview with the UN News when asked what changes UN needs to make in order to reach and be more relevant in young people's lives, Wickramanayake said UN has a responsibility to go to young people and meet them where they are.
"We cannot expect all youth from different communities, religions and ethnic backgrounds to come to the UN."
She explained that most often the UN jargon is not very familiar to the young people doing good work in advancing the lives of youth in their villages and communities.
"By taking the UN closer to young people I do not necessarily mean physically, but through new technologies, such as social media, to connect with youth in a language they can understand," she said.
The second approach, she said, is to have the UN system look at young people as the youth comprise more than half of world’s population today
"There is a need to see young people not as a liability but as an opportunity, and to see how we can proactively engage them in all discussions, at all levels," Ms. Wickremanayake said.
Read the full interview here.