On November 27th 2021, I graduated from the first-ever UNITAR Youth Ambassador Asia-Pacific Program (YAAPP). Facilitated by ITS Education Asia, the program took place over 10 Saturdays with 6 hours of participation per day. As one of sixteen school-nominated ambassadors, we got to learn from and discuss with local and international experts about the United Nations and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), youth-led leadership, digital innovation, social entrepreneurship, social and climate justice, and much more. Ultimately, we ideated and planned a social enterprise that we pitched using a group presentation at Cyberport.
Although I was nervous throughout my presentation and the Q&A session, I successfully pitched my initiative Youth. Co – a platform for youth-led organisations to support each other and share information, tools, and access to networks. The learning curve was steep, but under the guidance of Dr François Bonnici and his book ‘The Systems Work of Social Change’, I learnt what organisations like Youth. Co should and should not do to create meaningful, large-scale impact in their communities.
The most valuable part of my experience, however, is the people. With cohort members from 12 different schools, I engaged with people from backgrounds I never thought I could before. It was inspiring to meet multiple friends passionate about youth empowerment and entrepreneurship; our discussions, too, were always lively and insightful. From a fashion rental platform to a CDNIS Global Goals Council to an organisation advocating for domestic helpers, their initiatives will hopefully grow into something big in the future.
Two years ago, I never would have thought that I would one day become a certified UNITAR Youth Ambassador. The past ten weeks have been a complete eye-opener, both for acquiring new skills and introducing me to different companies focused on sustainability. As the organisers plan to organise UNITAR YAAPP again in 2022, you might just become the next Sha Tin College UNITAR Youth Ambassador! And who knows, you might see me around next year…
Written by: Kadence Wong