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Changing the world goes beyond the United Nations

  • Emma Hogeterp
  • |
  • Feb 26, 2018
Changing the world goes beyond the United Nations

Emma Hogeterp is a 2019 HBA and Global Development Studies dual-degree candidate who took part in the Youth Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, Feb. 14-16. Hogeterp reflects on her experiences at the conference.

The United Nations (UN) is recognized by many as the epitome of global progress and co-operation. The Youth Assembly at the UN headquarters brought together more than 1,000 young people from around the world in this pursuit, including me and fellow Ivey MBA student Sanket Mehta. However, we young delegates learned that taking innovative approaches to problems in our local and global communities starts with us – not the UN.

I attended eight sessions at the Youth Assembly conference on many themes, ranging from global health to renewable energy. The sessions generally gave overviews of global issues with high-level approaches to solving them.

For me, the real magic started during the delegate question period at the end of the sessions.

The challenge: Can we do better?

During a global health session, a young delegate from Liberia shared how his family members passed away from ebola virus during the 2014 West African ebola epidemic. He had the courage to challenge highly respected members of the World Health Organization and UNAIDS to better prepare for future health crises. Furthermore, he mobilized a conversation among the delegates on concrete ways to improve health measures in our home countries.

I had the privilege of engaging with youth from all over the world who were starting their own social initiatives and movements, rather than joining larger organizations. Young entrepreneurs, advocates, and academics gave me a renewed sense of hope for the millennial generation to create change from the ground up.

I leave you with this: Take time to appreciate the way you are engaged at Ivey. Here, we are encouraged to think critically. We are truly seen by our peers and professors as young people who have the agency to challenge the way things are done.

We do not need to go to the United Nations to change the world. We can do it in the actions we take as business leaders every day.

Sanket Mehta and Emma Hogeterp at the UN Youth Assembly.