UN Secretary General, Bank Ki-Moon, while visiting Canada met with some students at McGill University, on the 12th of February 2016, to discuss the power of young people in shaping a new future.
He touched on four of the major threats in our world (Unemployment, climate change, armed conflict, and humanitarian crises). Also on four of the global responses (our Sustainable Development Goals, The Paris Climate Change agreement, The Security Council Resolution on Youth and the World Humanitarian Summit) and how the youths can work with the United Nations to create solutions to the problems and turn the ideals of the global responses into action.
He exhorted the students to give back to society in order to end poverty and also to join forces with the United Nations to make the world a better place by taking responsibility to protect our climate. This he said can be done by being a part of the transition to a low-carbon future, investing in green solutions, inventing new technologies, and electing leaders who are committed to climate action.
To achieve youth participation, Ban Ki-Moon acknowledged that young people have to be invested in and put in influential positions, which is the reason why he appointed Mr Ahmad Alhendawi, the first-ever Youth Envoy at the United Nations, when he was only 28 years old to serve as a connection between the young people and the United Nations.
He also talked about the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs launched by the United Nations to promote green jobs for young people, create quality apprenticeships, expand digital skills and build tech hubs.
He encouraged the students of McGill University to rise to the challenges of their generation and left them with a quote from his first meeting with President Kennedy that still resounds with him: “The government leaders don’t always get on, but I think people do. What hopes we can have for the future and our hopes are in all of you (young people). There are no national boundaries. There is only a question of whether you can extend a helping hand. Whether you can help someone in your country or in some foreign city, the general cause is served.”