History Podcasts

Young Ambassador to UN - History

Young Ambassador to UN - History

In 1977, President Carter selected Andrew Young to be the United States Ambassador to the United Nations.

Nikki Haley

Nimrata Nikki Haley (née Randhawa born January 20, 1972) [1] is an American politician who served as the 116th and first female governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017 and as the 29th United States ambassador to the United Nations for almost two years, from January 2017 to December 2018.

Haley was born in Bamberg, South Carolina, and studied accounting at Clemson University. Haley joined her family's clothing business, before serving as treasurer and president of the National Association of Women Business Owners. First elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2004, she served three terms. In 2010, during her third term, she was elected governor of South Carolina and won re-election in 2014. Haley was the first female governor of South Carolina, the youngest governor in the country and the second governor of Indian descent (after fellow Republican Bobby Jindal of Louisiana). She was the first Asian-American female governor, and in 2017 became the first Indian-American in a presidential cabinet. [2]

Haley served as United States ambassador to the United Nations from 2017 to 2018. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in a 96–4 vote, and was sworn in on January 25, 2017. She affirmed the United States's willingness to use military force in response to further North Korean missile tests in the wake of the 2017–2018 North Korea crisis. She strongly defended Israel at the Security Council [3] and led the effort to withdraw the U.S. from the United Nations Human Rights Council. She voluntarily stepped down on December 31, 2018.

Early Life

Eleanor Roosevelt, born Anna Eleanor Roosevelt in New York City on October 11, 1884, was the eldest of three children of Elliot Roosevelt, the younger brother of Theodore Roosevelt, and Anna Hall Roosevelt.

Despite being born into one of the “400 Families,” the richest and most influential families in New York, Eleanor Roosevelt’s childhood was not a happy one. Eleanor’s mother Anna was considered a great beauty while Eleanor herself was not, a fact that Eleanor knew greatly disappointed her mother. On the other hand, Eleanor’s father Elliott doted on her and called her “Little Nell,” after the character in Charles Dickens’ The Old Curiosity Shop. Unfortunately, Elliott suffered from a growing addiction to alcohol and drugs, which ultimately destroyed his family.

In 1890 when Eleanor was about 6 years old, Elliott separated from his family and began receiving treatments in Europe for his alcoholism. At the behest of his brother Theodore Roosevelt (who later became the 26th president of the United States), Elliott was exiled from his family until he could free himself from his addictions. Anna, missing her husband, did her best to take care of Eleanor and her two younger sons, Elliott Jr., and baby Hall.

Then tragedy struck. In 1892, Anna went to the hospital for a surgery and afterward contracted diphtheria she died soon after when Eleanor was 8 years old. Just months later, Eleanor’s two brothers came down with scarlet fever. Baby Hall survived, but 4-year-old Elliott Jr. developed diphtheria and died in 1893.

With the deaths of her mother and young brother, Eleanor hoped she would be able to spend more time with her beloved father. Not so. Elliott’s dependency on drugs and alcohol got worse after the deaths of his wife and child, and in 1894 he died.

Within 18 months, Eleanor had lost her mother, brother, and father. She was a 10-year-old orphan. Eleanor and her brother Hall went to live with their very strict maternal grandmother Mary Hall in Manhattan.

Eleanor spent several miserable years with her grandmother until she was sent abroad in September 1899 to Allenswood School in London.

Meet the Young Leaders

The Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals are 17 global citizens who have been recognized for their outstanding leadership in their efforts to achieve the Goals. The 17 were selected from more than 18,000 nominations and will work with the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth on efforts to engage young people in the realization of the Goals.

To learn more, visit: sdgyoungleaders.org

Trisha Shetty, a 26-year-old from India, launched SheSays in 2015, a platform to educate, rehabilitate and empower women to take direct action against sexual assault in India. SheSays uniquely provides tools and resources for women, including access to legal, medical and psychological support.

“I decided to do something when I realized that I could go online to find information about restaurants, but for victims of sexual abuse, there was nothing.” One year later, “SheSays” was born. A non-profit organization with a full team of “fabulous” under-25s, SheSays provides a portal that educates, rehabilitates and empowers women to take direct action against sexual violence in India. Trisha and her team work with established institutions across the education, entertainment and healthcare sectors to build a network of support that recognizes all levels of sexual abuse and provides the necessary means to fight it. So far, the organization has successfully engaged more than 60,000 young people through educational workshops at urban universities, their website, and music festivals as part of their endeavor for the public safety of women.

Despite the daily threats she receives in reaction to her work, Trisha, who describes herself as “rational and resilient,” refuses to stand down. Instead, the SheSays team is tackling increasingly controversial issues, including the criminalization of marital rape. When asked about her vision for the future, Trisha sets her sights on the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 5, Gender Equality: “Acknowledging that there is inequality is an important first step. But in the end, I hope SheSays will be redundant because there is no longer a need for it.”

Anthony Ford-Shubrook is a 30 year-old from the United Kingdom and a lifelong advocate for disability rights and access. At age 17, Anthony made legal history when he successfully lobbied to attend college in London. As the Youth Representative of AbleChildAfrica, he campaigns for youth with disabilities to live full and independent lives everywhere.

Born with cerebral palsy, Anthony Ford-Shubrook is determined to empower people with disabilities from all walks of life: “I never let my disability prevent me from achieving my goals.” At age 17, Anthony proved this when he made legal history in the UK. While he was initially disallowed from attending college in London because using a climbing wheelchair would pose a health and safety problem for other students, Anthony successfully lobbied to attend, laying the groundwork for the Special Education Needs and Disability Act.

Now 30, Anthony serves as the Youth Ambassador for AbleChildAfrica, a non-profit organization that has helped thousands of disabled children gain access to inclusive healthcare, education, and sports. Anthony has also conducted research on access to education for children with disabilities, and his tireless work to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities has been featured at major international events and conferences. Most recently, Anthony joined a delegation of people with disabilities at the World Humanitarian Summit, where his message was heard loud and clear: “I want to ensure that the recent historical mention of disabled people in the Sustainable Development Goals is upheld. I am committed and dedicated to working in as many ways as possible to achieve this vision of an inclusive world.”

At 25 years old, Rita Kimani of Kenya is the co-founder of FarmDrive, a social enterprise that connects unbanked and underserved smallholder farmers to credit. To date, FarmDrive works with over 3,000 farmers and is dedicated to financial inclusion.

“I grew up in rural Kenya where the people are dependent on farming. My mom was fending for a family of four, and I witnessed other families struggle to support themselves through agriculture, in part because there was a lack of financial inclusion.” Despite these challenges, the 25-year-old computer scientist has seen how sustainable agriculture can be a vehicle for inclusive economic growth and resolved to use her experiences to find solutions.

Rita co-founded FarmDrive, a social enterprise that connects unbanked and underserved smallholder farmers to lines of affordable credit in rural Kenya. Using mobile technology, FarmDrive’s platform enables farmers to track their productivity, expenses and revenues to create comprehensive credit portfolios enabling access to affordable financial services, as they are needed. As it stands, 3000 farmers are registered, and loans have been facilitated to 400 farmers. Rita and her co-founder intend to scale-up fast. They forecast 210,000 loans will have been processed by the end of 2018 and half a million Kenyan smallholder farmers will benefit from FarmDrive’s services within five years.

Rainier Mallol is a 25-year-old from the Dominican Republic. He is the co-founder and President of AIME, an epidemiology company that has developed a tool to predict major disease outbreaks by using artificial intelligence, epidemiological expertise and data analytics.

Every year, 2.5 billion people are at risk of catching Dengue fever and 400 million of them actually do. “Growing up in the Dominican Republic, the number one health concern we think about is Dengue,” reveals Rainier. “My mother and my brother have both had it.” Struck by this, Rainier – who is a computer engineer by training – was determined to find a solution when he co-founded AIME (Artificial Intelligence in Medical Epidemics).

By using epidemiology, big data analytics and artificial intelligence, AIME has developed a tool to predict the time and location of infectious disease outbreaks – in real time. “We’re an epidemiology company first, and a technology company second.” The platform currently functions at 87% accuracy, and can be used to provide valuable information to public health officials, saving precious time and ultimately lives. To date, successful pilot projects have been undertaken in Malaysia, Brazil and the Philippines. Next, Rainier and his team are looking at how they can apply the model to the spread of HIV, Tuberculosis, Malaria, and other neglected tropical diseases, in support of Sustainable Development Goal 3. “We’re trying to shift epidemiology to be more proactive, and with new technology that’s increasingly possible.”

Edda Hamar, a 27-year-old from Iceland and Australia, co-founded Undress Runways, building a movement pushing for sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry without compromising style. Edda also launched The Naked Mag in 2014, advocating for diversity, respect, equality, sustainability and smart textiles in the fashion industry.

“Our purpose is to educate consumers about sustainable fashion and to change the stigma around it,” says Edda. As co-founder of Undress Runways, Edda has built a movement to educate and inspire people to choose ethically and sustainably produced clothing and promote sustainable consumerism, decent work and ecologically friendly fashions. “We are showing people that sustainability is the future, and that you don’t have to compromise your style to be ethical,” she said.

Through Undress Runways, Edda leads a multifaceted effort to connect sustainability and fashion. The annual fashion show engages more than 50,000 people celebrating forward-thinking fashion designers from across the globe. The Naked Mag is an annually published magazine that advocates for diversity, respect and equality, and profiles the best of the industry. And ‘VIHN’ is an emerging label designed to create opportunities for mainstream garment workers to move into ethical workplaces. “There’s always a story behind the clothes, and we want people to choose the positive stories,” Edda said.

23-year-old Vincent Loka of Indonesia is one of the three founding partners of WateROAM, a social enterprise developing water filtration solutions that bring rapid access to clean drinking water in disaster-hit locations. One such solution is Fieldtrade Lite, a product that fits easily into a backpack and can filter dirty river water within minutes.

“We are committed to bringing clean water to people everywhere,” says Vincent, which is why he and two co-founders, all in their early twenties, launched WateROAM— a water innovation enterprise championing the vision of a world without prolonged thirst. WateROAM is developing water filtration solutions that bring about the quickest access to clean drinking water at disaster-hit locations, and helping to promote social change in rural areas. “I lead the engineering team to develop filtration systems that are simple, affordable, durable and portable,” says Vincent. “We realized that these four pillars are critical when it comes to getting water solutions to the people on the ground.” One of these solutions, otherwise known as Fieldtrade Lite, fits easily into a backpack and can filter dirty river water within minutes.

The impact has been significant. In 2015 alone, WateROAM’s filtration systems provided drinkable water for thousands of the victims of the earthquake in Nepal, Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu and the floods in Myanmar. “WateROAM also supplies the filters to non-profit organizations that deliver them as part of their disaster-relief work. Vincent and his team are committed to continuing this work to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 on clean water and sanitation.

Safaath Ahmed Zahir is a 25-year-old from the Republic of Maldives. She is a leading women’s rights activist dedicated to elevating the role of women in her country. Through her civil society activism, she has pioneered efforts to raise the profile of women’s economic empowerment in the Maldives.

“I come from a household of all women, but a society where men are in charge,” a reality that lit a fire in Safaath from a young age. After completing her studies abroad, the 25-year-old “democracy-driven, proud feminist” returned to the Maldives to lead Women on Boards, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting gender diversity in the workplace and inspiring Maldivian women to accelerate to the next level, no matter their position or economic standing. Through capacity development workshops, scholarship programs and advocacy campaigns, Women on Boards has pioneered efforts to raise the profile of women’s economic empowerment in the Maldives.

Building on this success, Safaath is establishing the NGO Women and Democracy, drawing lessons from Women on Boards to increase female representation in policy and decision-making. Safaath believes that equitable participation of women in politics and government is essential to building and sustaining democracy. Her version of success: “More women in parliament, more women in policy-making, more women as Ministers, and more women Presidents.”

Lutfi Fadil Lokman is a 28-year-old from Malaysia who founded and acts as the CEO of Hospitals Beyond Boundaries (HBB), a youth-led organization with a mission to build healthcare facilities serving underprivileged communities. HBB has trained and served more than 3,000 people in Malaysia and Cambodia.

After an accident that left him hospitalized, Lutfi decided to start doing what he had long dreamed of: the 28-year-old medical doctor founded Hospitals Beyond Boundaries, an organization committed to accessible health care through community-run clinics in Cambodia and Malaysia. “I am most proud of our clinic in Cambodia because we focus specifically on maternal and child health,” says Lutfi.

The healthcare facilities are uniquely run as social enterprises by the local youth population, trained and then employed as community health workers alongside doctors, nurses and health professionals. Since its establishment, Hospitals Beyond Boundaries has trained and served more than 3,000 people. “We believe that empowerment of the community, rather than charity, is the key to sustainability. We work with local NGOs, the Ministry of Health and local leaders to ensure that we make as much impact as possible.” Other than working directly with Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-being), the clinic and hospital look at healthcare that lies beyond the hospital boundaries. “When someone is started on antibiotics for pneumonia, we also start looking for holes on his house roof. We hope that by curing diseases, we also help to alleviate poverty.” Not only does Lutfi serve the community through HBB, he also serves as a Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health in Malaysia.

Carolina Medina is a 28-year-old from Colombia. Her passion is to make healthy food more affordable and accessible for everyone. Carolina co-founded and leads Agruppa, a start-up based in her country that leverages mobile phone technology to organize small businesses.

“I want to contribute to making my country more equitable for everyone,” a conviction which has led Carolina to co-found Agruppa, a start-up that utilizes mobile phones to economically empower small businesses and lower prices for fresh produce. Agruppa organizes small businesses into clusters, creating collective buying power so that they can benefit from economies of scale when ordering stock. This allows vendors to purchase fresher produce at better prices, saving money which can be passed on to the customer.

By creating a virtual buying group among vendors, Agruppa purchases wholesale produce directly from farmers, transports it to the city and delivers it to vendors’ shops. This saves them time and money spent on transportation to central markets where they buy produce, and gives them access to wholesale prices. “The ultimate objective is to make healthy food available to everyone, no matter where they live,” says Carolina. “Hunger in our country does not necessarily mean lack of access to food, but lack of access to affordable and nutritious food. And if kids aren’t properly fed, then they cannot go to school and they cannot learn. We feel that everything is connected, and that is my understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals.” Agruppa currently works with more than 180 “mom & pop shops,” and they are adding between 10-15 every week.

Jake Horowitz is a 28-year-old from the United States. He is the co-founder and editor-at-large of Mic, a news and media company targeted toward millennials to capture the unique worldview of this generation. Mic reports original stories and analysis to an audience of more than 30 million people each month, and produces high-quality videos, reaching over 200 million people each month.

“In 2011, we were inspired by young people who were taking to the streets and using technology in profound new ways. It was clear that the millennial generation holds a unique worldview that wasn’t being captured.” This led Jake to co-found Mic, a news and media company run by and for millennials. “We started Mic in an effort to make the world look more like our generation thinks it should.”

What started as a two-person operation out of a basement, now employs 160 young staffers and reaches 30 million people every month, 70% of whom are under the age of 34. As editor-at-large, Jake leads Mic’s editorial coverage, directing and honing it to reflect millennial issues across the globe. Mic does not just make the news, it spurs young people to take action. Most recently, Mic partnered with Alicia Keys and the We Are Here Movement on a petition to demand racial justice and equality, collecting 120,000 signatures to present to the White House.

Jake believes in the unique power of young people to bring the Sustainable Development Goals to life: “The achievement of the Goals depends on our generation knowing them and understanding how we can collectively leverage the tools at our disposal to make a difference.”

Shougat Nazbin Khan, a 27-year-old from Bangladesh, established H. A. Digital School & College, now serving 600 students from 50 underprivileged communities in Bangladesh with a focus on socio-economic empowerment of women.

“In a community vulnerable to violence, we are giving young people and children real hope for a better future,” says Shougat. Growing up in a family of educators, Shougat recognized the unique role of education in transforming lives. In 2014, she founded the H.A. Digital School and College on her parents’ land in Northern Bangladesh to educate disadvantaged communities with a special focus on the socio-economic empowerment of women. The school has developed curricula that are responsive to rural realities and gender, including ICT and entrepreneurship training, health and environment training, adult literacy and services to end violence.

Now in its second academic year, more than 600 students from 50 villages are studying at the school, while 90% of the teaching staff are women. “The rapid growth of the institute has broadened the community’s vision of technology as a tool for developing the skills of young people,” says Shougat. “I believe in this model’s immense potential to promote peace, reduce extreme poverty and uphold environmental and sustainable development.” In addition to her work at the crossroads of women’s empowerment and access to a decent education, Shougat developed a low-cost solar PV irrigation system for farmers for which she won the prestigious Green Talent award in 2015.

Samuel Malinga is a 27-year-old from Uganda, and serves as the founder and managing director of Sanitation Africa. Having grown up in the Naguru slum, Samuel became determined to increase access to sanitation services in remote and inaccessible communities throughout the country.

At the age of 12, Samuel moved to the Naguru slums in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, where he experienced first-hand the systemic problem of poor sanitation and waste management. “It’s so painful to me that children die of preventable diseases brought about by simple sanitation issues that we know how to resolve.” In Uganda, over 95% of the population uses latrines and septic tanks, and 60% of these pits are consistently full in Kampala. Coupled with rapid population growth, the majority of the population resides in unplanned settlements, which are congested and lack proper sanitation. This is why Samuel decided to start Sanitation Africa, through which he developed a full-cycle sanitation system that starts with the building of local low-cost but highly hygienic toilets and ends with the conversion of sludge into cooking briquettes and agriculture manure.

Sanitation Africa has constructed over 358 toilets, reaching more than 1,000 households in remote and inaccessible communities throughout Uganda. “We are expanding across the country and taking toilets closer to the people,” says Samuel. “Our team is comprised of young people who have the energy and passion to deliver decent sanitation services to the community, and we are helping some of the most vulnerable households along the way. Coming up with a solution has made me very proud to contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 6.”

Samar Samir Mezghanni is a 28-year-old Tunisian-Iraqi writer with two records in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest writer in the world. She has written over 100 short stories for children, published 14 books, and leverages her talent to advocate for youth empowerment in Tunisia and around the world.

As a prolific writer and storyteller, Samar is passionate about using her talent to motivate and inspire young people as creators of content, especially as it relates to women’s rights, inequality, and peace and justice. Hailing from the birthplace of the Arab Spring, Samar gave the keynote address at the 2016 Economic and Social Council Youth Forum, where she spoke about the unique qualities of youth power. “We live in a world organized by fear. As young people, we have not yet learned to fear. Our audacity to write different stories, to challenge inequalities and to accept others and to connect to them, makes us unique actors in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Samar has long explored morality through her storytelling, bringing to life notions such as sustainable development through inter-personal narratives and empowering young people to use their voices. Samar has been named as one of the most Powerful Arab women and one of the 30 Top Arab Achievers under 30. She is currently completing her PhD at the University of Cambridge.

24 year-old Ankit Kawatra founded Feeding India in 2014 to address two issues at once – hunger and food waste. Today, Feeding India has a network of over 2,000 volunteers in 28 cities in India rescuing and redistributing excess food to help feed people in need. The organization has served over one million meals to date and aims to reach 100 million by 2020.

Ankit was 22 when he decided to quit his corporate job to focus on tackling food waste and hunger in India. “It all started after I attended a large wedding in the capital of India. I was appalled at how much food was going to waste in a country where 194 million are undernourished,” a reality that spurred Ankit to launch Feeding India, the non-profit organization he founded in 2014. The idea was simple: to collect excess food from parties, events and weddings and re-distribute to people in need.

What began as five friends helping out has expanded into a network of over 2,000 volunteers trained through the Hunger Heroes program. Today, Feeding India operates in 28 cities across the country and has served over one million meals. Ankit and his all-youth team have no intention of stopping now: “Our mission has always been to reach zero hunger. We’re focused on a sustainable model that continues to expand and plan to reach 5,000 volunteers by 2017.”

25-year-old Nikki Fraser serves as the Youth Representative from the British Columbia Native Women’s Associations and the National Youth Representative for the Native Women’s Association of Canada. She is a tireless advocate for indigenous women and girls in Canada and worldwide.

“My Aunt Dorothy and my cousin Samantha are among countless indigenous women and girls who have been stolen from our nation,” asserts Nikki, the 25-year-old mother of two from Tk’emlups Te Secwepemc, one of the 17 bands within the Secwepemc Nation. Officially, the figure stands at around 1,200. “I do this work in their honor. It is my mission to advocate on behalf of missing and murdered indigenous women who deserve a voice.”

Nikki serves as the National Youth Representative at the Native Women’s Association of Canada, an organization that seeks to advance the wellbeing of aboriginal women and girls, as well as their families and communities, through activism, policy analysis and advocacy. Nikki has advocated in numerous fora, including the 2016 United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and recently interviewed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, discussing with him the challenges faced by indigenous communities and efforts to safeguard their rights. Prime Minister Trudeau echoed Nikki’s call to action: “Indigenous lives matter.”

19-year-old Karan Jerath is from the United States. Following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill near his home in Texas, he was determined to find a solution. Karan invented a ground-breaking, subsea wellhead capping device that contains oil spills at the source, showing the power of youth as innovators to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 14 on oceans.

Born in India and raised in Malaysia, Karan moved to the United States as a “shy and optimistic” 13-year-old. When the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil spill – the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history – happened 30 minutes away from where Karan lived in Texas, he was determined to take action. “I realized that much smaller spills are happening on a daily basis and slowly destroying our oceans and environment. I had to find a solution.” And he did.

While still in high school, Karan invented a device that contains oil spills at the source. This patent-pending device can collect oil, gas and water gushing from a broken well on the seafloor, providing an effective, temporary solution in the case of an unforeseen subsea oil spill. For his invention, Karan won the Young Scientist Award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair’s 2015 competition, and was selected as the youngest honoree on this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 Energy list.

Hailing from Mexico, 29-year-old Tere Gonzalez Garcia is the president of Liter of Light Mexico, part of a global movement to repurpose plastic soda bottles to create sustainable light sources. She is a strong advocate for ecological and low-cost lighting solutions for underprivileged communities around the world.

“Without light, your opportunities are diminished,” a conviction that led 29-year-old Tere to start Liter of Light Mexico in 2013 as a joint venture with Fundacion Qohelet, the non-profit organization to prevent violence and addiction that she co-founded at the age of 16. As part of a global open-source movement, Liter of Light Mexico provides affordable and sustainable solar light using recycled bottles to illuminate homes, businesses and streets. What started out as a small project in Mexico, eventually grew into a full non-profit organization, which Tere still manages today as president and has helped incubate Liter of Light in other countries like India, Spain, Honduras and Guatemala, among others.

“We work directly with minorities and marginalized groups, including gypsy and indigenous communities, people living in slums, victims of drug cartels and migrants,” says Tere. In addition to her role as president, Tere works at the Young Americas Business Trust at the Organization of American States promoting entrepreneurship, social and economic development among young people from Latin America and the Caribbean. She is also engaged with initiatives like MTV Agentes de Cambio for Latin America to engage young people in social activism. “I am committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals for all people while leaving no one behind.”

South Australia

The 2021 Listening Tour with Australian Youth Representative, Lucy Stronach, has begun! Starting in Queensland, Lucy will lead an extensive, nationwide consultation tour to engage with and discover the issues that are most important to young Australians. The Listening Tour is a 6-month journey across every State and Territory and sees the Australian Youth Representative consult with as many young people aged 12 to 25.

Each year, the Australian Youth Representative asks young people a specific question. In 2021, Lucy will be asking

Through the Listening Tour and consultations held at youth conferences, schools, UN Youth Australia events, Juvenile Justice Centres and more, the Program obtains a wide range of youth perspectives and experiences. After listening to Australia’s youth, Lucy as the Australian Youth Representative will convey the multitude of individual voices not has a homogenous group, but as a vast network of differing perspectives, opinions, and experiences that shape society. A final report will be prepared covering the entire 2021 Listening Tour and voices of young people.

Importantly, the Australian Youth Representative will meet not only with young people but also with prominent members of the Australian community, including Members of Parliament (MPs), leaders from non-government organisations, and those involved in the youth and education sectors. If you would to speak to Lucy and learn more about what young people are saying, please contact us here.

Want to hold or attend a consultation? Contact us to hold a consult at your school, institution or organisation, or see which council/community organisations are hosting open consults!

Belize Ambassador to the UN sounds ominous warning about climate change

BELIZE CITY, Tues. July 2, 2019– Belize’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Lois Young,has taken an activist position in speaking up on behalf of small nation-states whose contribution to the global phenomenon described by scientists as global warming, is minimal.

In an opinion article published in the Financial Times about the dismissive approach being adopted by of some of the large nation states, Ambassador Young called on them to step aside and stop blocking the UN efforts to contain global warming.

Under the caption, “Small nations like Belize are being sacrificed at climate talks,” Ambassador Young, who was in Bonn, Germany, attending UN climate talks that were attended by representatives of 200 countries, sounded a clear, ominous warning about the dangers facing the world if action is not taken.

Ambassador Young is also the chairperson for the 44-member state, Alliance of Small Island states (AOSIS). The UN climate talks were “aimed at implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement, which seeks to keep the average global temperature increase below 2C,” Ambassador Young writes.

Ambassador Young said that, “All these countries agreed in 2015 to that deal, and yet here — nearly five years on — there are a few who wish to quietly use procedural measures to rip it up away from the public gaze.

“The science is important because it illustrates just how fine a line we are now treading. Last year’s special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lays out the stark and bleak realities of a warming world.”

Ambassador Young said that even if we keep an average temperature increase to 1.5 C, there will still be an economic impact, global crop failures and “brutal damage to coral reefs.”

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) work had global input: the US, Saudi Arabia, India and China all contributed to the report, alongside the EU, Africa, Latin America and my small island colleagues,” Ambassador Young said.

Belize’s Ambassador took the major oil, gas and coal-producing countries’ envoys to task for not planning a low carbon future, “saying they reject that science.”

“They obviously believe that with the current instability in the world, no one would notice, and no one would care if they tried to exorcise the IPCC conclusions on 1.5C warming from UN climate talks and take it off the agenda,” Ambassador Young writes.

Noting that this position is coming days before the G20 in Osaka, Ambassador Young concludes, “The move essentially declares that small islands and low-lying coastal developing states like my home, Belize, are disposable global zones to be sacrificed amid unprecedented climate change.

“Their refusal to formally consider the IPCC report, which was established as a critical next step in the Paris Agreement, undermines the basis on which the community of nations engages on and responds to climate change-induced challenges. It is a rejection of multilateralism and the 1990 UN climate framework, which was originally agreed by a Republican US president, George H W Bush, in a more hopeful era when we envisaged the start of a new history.”

Ambassador Young went on to sound a clear warning that if we had time to waste and the science was unclear, “perhaps this refusal to accept the conclusions of the report would not be such a problem. We could sit down, negotiate and eventually move on.” She stated that, on the contrary, however, “We do not have time, and the science is stark. With only a decade in which to act decisively, a small yet vocal contingent of states — some of which have historical responsibility for excessive emissions and a commitment to protecting vested interests — is effectively scuttling global efforts to secure a safe future.

“Do the world leaders really mean to tell us, the most vulnerable nations on the planet, that this is the new reality we must accept? This is an emergency and we will stand up and fight for what we know is right. Our alliance is firm. The time for climate denial and incremental action is long over. This is a crisis that affects our security, and we call on those blocking at the UN to step aside.”

On June 1, 2017, the United States administration of President Donald Trump announced that the US would withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Accord that the US signed onto in 2015 during the administration of President Barack Obama.

Since the US administration made that announcement, the Congress, controlled by the Democrats, passed its Climate Change Now bill, as a symbolic signal to the Trump Administration to get back on track and honor its commitment to the Paris Climate Change Accord.

The Trump White House and the Republicans, however, have been dismissive of the Democrats’ bill the Republican Senate Majority Leader described the bill as “political theater,” while the White House said it would be inconsistent with the president’s “America First” agenda.

Under the Paris Accord, the US withdrawal would come into effect in November 2020, when the US presidential election is scheduled.

In the 2015 Paris Accords, the US had pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by the year 2025.

A Pastor, Pacifist, and Activist

Young’s early career as a pastor led to some significant changes in his life. At an Alabama church, he met his first wife, Jean Childs, with whom he would go on to have four children. He also served on the pastoral staffs of Georgia churches. Early in his career, Young took an interest in the philosophy of nonviolence and civil rights. His efforts to register African Americans in the Deep South to vote led him to meet the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and join the Civil Rights Movement. He faced death threats because of his activism but continued to advocate for voting rights.

He moved to New York City in 1957 to work with the National Council of Churches, but returned to the South to continue his civil rights activism in Georgia in 1961. He participated in the citizenship schools that taught rural Blacks how to read and mobilize politically. African Americans who tried to exercise their voting rights in the Jim Crow South were often presented with literacy tests at the polls, though such tests were not routinely given to white voters. In fact, the examinations were used to intimidate and disenfranchise would-be Black voters.

Young’s involvement with the citizenship schools and his relationship with King resulted in him taking a prominent role in the Civil Rights Movement. Having successfully organized anti-segregation marches, Young proved himself a trustworthy activist, and he rose to the highest ranks of the SCLC. He became the organization’s executive director in 1964. During this tenure, he would serve jail time for engaging in civil rights protests in Selma, Alabama, and St. Augustine, Florida. But serving as the SCLC's executive director also led him to help draft important civil rights legislation, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Together, these laws helped to strike down Jim Crow in the South.

While Young had enjoyed a great deal of success as a civil rights activist, the movement came to a halt with the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. As the turbulent sixties came to an end, Young transitioned out of the SCLC and into the political world.

Young Resigns as U.N. Ambassador

Even before Hamilton Jordan spoke, the dozen members of the White House senior staff whom he had suddenly summoned to his office knew what was coming.

It was about the man who was standing somberly next to Jordan, a fellow Georgian who also had worked loyally for Jimmy Carter since way back when.

"We all felt very close to Andy," the recently anointed chief of the White House staff began, "and now Andy wants to talk to his friends."

And with that, Andrew Young -- first Jimmy Carter's emissary to black America and, later, America's emissary to the Third World -- launched quietly but firmly into what in effect would be a sort of dress rehearsal for the remarks he would be making before television cameras in a couple of hours.

He told them that he felt he had been, too often, a source of controversy and embarrassment for the president -- and that he wants to see Jimmy Carter reelected -- and so he had decided to resign.

Andy Young had kind words for his colleagues in the room, and they had kind words for him, and there were embraces and even tears. It was a decent and human way to consecrate a decision that some of those in the room had come to the night before -- that this latest controversy could end only with the departure of Young as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

It was a decision that Young had come to see for himself -- after consultations between the president and his top advisers, and then between some of the top advisers and Young. The resignation of Andrew Young, a well-meaning man who had deliberately misled the State Department about an unauthorized meeting he had with a Palestine Liberation Organization official, was executed with a sort of careful choreography and finesse. So, according to one senior White House official it never actually came down to a question of whether Jimmy Carter would have to go through the painful exercise of demanding the resignation of his friend and loyal supporter.

Nor did it ever really come down to a question of whether Young could have one more chance if he promised to mend his ways and cease to be a flintstone of controversy -- although Young, in his remarks at the news conference where he announced his resignation, plainly implied that he had this opportunity.

(In fact, Young had been given his "one more chance" months ago, when he was rebuked by his boss, Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance, after he had said, during the furor over Soviet dissident Anatoly Scharansky, that America also had 'political prisoners.")

So it was that the resignation of Andrew Young was played out yesterday as being very much Young's decision, even though it was also the feeling of a number of others close to the president (and apparently the president, as well) that Young's resignation was for the best.

First Young met for an hour and a half with the president in the second-floor family quarters of the White House and handed him the letter of resignation he had written the night before then he met, at his request, with the president's senior staff.

There was never a suggestion, in interviews with senior Carter aides yesterday, that either the president or any of his advisers ever tried to talk Young out of resigning. In fact, although Young was not aware of it, the president was writing in longhand his letter accepting Young's resignation "with deep regret" even as Young was down in Hamilton Jordan's office telling his colleagues of what he presented as his decision.

Ten months ago, Carter had won cheers at a Congressional Black Caucus dinner when he said that Young would be the U.N. ambassador "as long as I am president and he wants to stay there."

Young's departure from Carter's Cabinet was carried out carefully, within the narrow loopholes of that scripture.

One afternoon in June 1977, a rather chagrined Young was escorted into the Oval Office and, finding it empty, he continued on into the small study that opens off the larger ceremonial chamber.

In just five months on the job, Young had become a controversial figure for his off-the-cuff comments about how Cuban troops were a "stabilizing" force in Angola, and how the British, the Russians, the Swedes and the people of the New York City borrough of Queen were racists. And now he was summoned by the president after telling Playboy magazine that Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford "were, in fact, racists."

Jimmy Carter greeted Young with warmth and understanding.

"What's happening to you is sort of like what happened to me during the campaign," Carter said, according to an interview with Young later that day. "They're analyzing every word. If you ever need help -- call."

They were one, in those days, Jimmy Carter and Andy Young, because each knew what it was like to have created problems for the other with a slip of the tongue.

Young had caused Carter problems that year with his comments on racism involving foreign allies and domestic political enemies. Carter had caused Young great problems the year before, with his campaign comment about "ethnic purity" -- the desirability of ethnically pure neighborhoods.

Young faced up to a lot of heat from other blacks back in 1976, when he came quickly to the defense of this white, southern politician.

"I did for him then, back in the ethnic purity crisis, what he did for me today," Young, one time lieutenant to Martin Luther King Jr., confided after he left the White House, a much relieved man, that day in 1977.

But Young continued with his propensity for turning quips into quicksand. It got so that even when he was being praised while receiving an honorary degree at Williams College, the speaker could not help but to note: "You have been called Motormouth, but we agree with the scriptures: 'Out of the fullness of the heart the mouth overfloweth.' -- Matthew."

In the State Department -- where there is much consternation over the fact that Young chose not to tell the full truth to a department official concerning his meeting with the PLO aide -- there is also a substantial admiration for the unique contribution Young made to American international relations. Consternation and admiration -- Young is viewed with both by the professional diplomats of the State Department. And, some now say, the same qualities that provoked Young's controversies also led him to be an unqualified success in improving America's image among the developing nations of the Third World.

"Andy Young has been a tremendous asset in establishing America's present relations with the Third World," said one State Department expert on Africa, who traveled with Young on that continent.

They still talk in the State Department of that conference on apartheid in the fall of 1977, when the United States figured to be viewed as the enemy by the countries of black Africa because of the heavy U.S. investment in South Africa.

One by one, Young met with the leaders of the black nations, winning their confidence in lengthy discussions. And when it was over, Nigeria's once anti-American leader, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, honored Young by inviting him into the northlands of his country for a festival of nomadic tribes.

In negotiations on Rhodesia and southern Africa, America's improved standing with black Africa is credited largely to Young's efforts.

"Andy Young's success in the Third World . . . was partly -- but only partly -- because of race," said one State Department official. "The more important factor was his ability to communicate. He felt he could cut through to the heart of any issue by brushing aside formalities and protocol and saying, 'Let's just sit down and talk about this.'" This is how he conducted himself in his greatest achievements, in the Third World, and it is how he conducted himself in that session that led to his downfall.

Perhaps only one other official in Washington shared his penchant for brushing aside protocol to do diplomatic negotiations in unconventional ways -- and that was Jimmy Carter, who did just that with his Camp David talks and Mideast shuttle success.

So, over at the State Department, many of the experts felt Andrew Young was too vital to the Third World, and too much like Carter, for the president to have him, or permit him to, leave.

"I just don't think Andy Young is going," the official said.

But as he was speaking, Young was heading out of Hamilton Jordan's office, out the south gates of the White House and over to the State Department, to announce that he had, in fact, left.

"In all my life," Yound would say in his news conference a few minutes later, "I've only been able to deal with people who distrust one another by being brutally frank -- and by being willing to be vulnerable because of that frankness."

Delta renames Atlanta headquarters building in honor of Ambassador Andrew Young

On March 11, one day before Ambassador Andrew Young’s 89 th birthday, Delta CEO Ed Bastian honored Ambassador Young at a surprise ceremony where Delta dedicated one of their Atlanta-based headquarters buildings after him. Formerly known as the A2 Building, it will now be known as the Ambassador Andrew J. Young International Building.

“Ambassador Young has had a tremendous influence on Delta, Atlanta, the state of Georgia and the world,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “He has been paramount in Delta’s success, and his leadership serves as a constant reminder for us all to push the boundaries. I can’t think of a better building to bear his name than the building many new hires enter on their first day.”

Ambassador Young has a long history with Delta, having served on Delta’s Board of Directors from 1994 to 2004, and was instrumental in the growth of the company and Delta’s hometown Atlanta when he served as mayor from 1982 to 1990. While serving as an Ambassador to the United Nations, he played a key role in Delta’s entrance to a number of international markets. Most recently in January, Ambassador Young joined an employee town hall to discuss the history of racial injustice and what the future holds in light of recent events across the country.

The ceremony on Thursday was live-streamed for Delta employees and joined by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Billy Payne, former Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, who worked alongside then Atlanta Mayor Young to bring the Olympics to Atlanta in 1996. Payne was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. In addition to Ambassador Young’s immediate family, other friends in attendance included John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, and Clark Durant, co-founder of Cornerstone Schools and CEO of Cornerstone Education Group in Detroit.

“I am delighted to be here today to celebrate a man whose reputation preceded him when we traveled the world to campaign for the Olympics to come to Atlanta. We had a wonderful, dynamic, charismatic individual in Andrew Young, and he is the greatest individual I have ever been privileged to know,” said Payne. “He is an incredible hero, and despite all of his achievements and accolades, he is at heart a preacher and believes in the goodness that we all possess. And for that I thank him for what he has done for this community.”

At the ceremony, Delta also made a $1 million contribution to the Andrew J. Young Foundation, whose mission is to support and promote education, leadership and human rights in the U.S., Africa and the Caribbean. The contribution will fund several film projects and other issues of interest to Ambassador Young.

A Boeing 767-300 scale model plane bearing the livery of the plane dedicated to Ambassador Young in 2012 was presented to Ambassador Young at the ceremony as part of the reveal. An exhibit honoring him will be on display at the Delta Flight Museum this summer, in addition to the displays included in the building that now bears his name.

“So many things can be said about Andrew Young, but I am reminded of an African proverb that says ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ – and when you are privileged to grow up in Atlanta, you are part of a village with leaders like Ambassador Young and Mayor Shirley Franklin, who keep you top of mind and in their hearts in all that they do,” said Mayor Bottoms. “Most people read about their heroes in history books, but our heroes walk amongst us, and Ambassador Young is my hero. Because of the village that you have led in Atlanta for so very long, I am now the 60 th mayor. This is a man who tells me that I can call him day or night, and he means it. On behalf of the people of Atlanta and all of those that have been a part of this village, I say thank you.”

Andrew Young Oral History Collection

Andrew Young Oral History Collection is a digital collection created by the Amistad Research Center. It is presented in the Tulane University Digital Library through a partnership between the Amistad Research Center and Tulane University. Inquiries regarding content in this digital collection should be addressed to [email protected] or (504) 862-3222.

The Andrew Young Oral History Collection encompasses 50 individual interviews conducted from 1980 to 1985 as part of writer and oral historian Tom Dent's research on his childhood friend, activist, congressman, and ambassador Andrew Young. As early as 1979, Dent was conducting research toward the autobiography of Young, though he wasn't officially hired as a consultant until 1981 to 1982 and continued to work on the book until 1986. Dent traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, to conduct a series of interviews with Young, then researched New Orleans and civil rights era history for the draft of the book, with the working title "An Easy Burden." The Young interviews provide a firsthand account of the events, leadership, and various campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement, as well as Young's childhood, work in the National Council of Churches, as a Congressman from Georgia, and United Nations Ambassador. The interviews provide numerous portraits of the SCLC leadership and civil rights workers including Hosea Williams, Ralph Abernathy, Wyatt Walker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Randolph Blackwell, Dorothy Cotton, Stan Levinson and of course Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The events and campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement are detailed for St. Augustine (Florida), Albany (Georgia), Selma (Alabama) and the Voting Rights Campaign, the Chicago Movement, and the Meredith March. Young provides detailed accounts of the FBI's harassment of Martin Luther King and SCLC staff, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis in 1968, and comments on what Young believes were the factors that produced the Civil Rights Movement of the sixties. Additional topics within the interviews include the Poor People's Campaign, the Vietnam Peace Movement, Young's Congressional Campaign and work as the UN Ambassador to Africa. Additional interviews within the oral history collection include interviews with Young's wife, Jean Childs Young, Dorothy Cotton, and Stoney Cooks.

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