Young Delegates Turn to the UN
Model UN students work with the Better World Campaign to focus on solutions
November 12, 2009
Ask Generation Y (20-somethings) to name one reason they get involved with international causes, and likely you will receive a host of varying but significant responses. Ask Model UN students, though, and this will be their answer: “So that I can be an ethical leader in a global community.”
This fall, the Better World Campaign (BWC) brought together a dozen of these Model UN leaders for a focus-group session on how to better connect their age group with the United Nations. While most of us who work for BWC and the UN Foundation consider ourselves young, forward-thinking citizens (spare us if we are wrong!), what we wanted was to hear from advocates who truly care about the UN, and not because they work for an organization like ours.
These Model UN students weren’t afraid of being direct and frank on why they think global citizenship is critical. They made it clear that they aren’t pounding the pavement because they want to be the next Ban Ki-moon. They support the UN because they care about the issues: the climate change movement; peacekeepers saving lives; universal cooperation as a measure of success; and civil liberty as an inherent human right, not a privilege.
As one student said, “I turn on the television and listen to nothing but problems, problems, problems. I turn to the UN and I hear about solutions.” Such positive views are crucial, as research shows it takes Generation Y less time than any other demographic to decide whether or not they want to pay attention to something.
Indeed, like no other age group, Generation Y have grown up in a technological world where breaking news comes at them from every angle. Instead of wading endlessly in a pool of information, they’ve figured out how to use modern tools to communicate change. It takes them ten seconds to collectively crash Twitter when updating the world on the 2009 Iranian elections. And now, donating $10 to save a child’s life is as easy as clicking ‘send’ on their mobile phones.
While so many people get caught up in the challenges that come with any bureaucracy, Generation Y -- led by their Model UN peers -- is looking towards the United Nations for answers, and so are we. Stay tuned to the Better World Campaign as we find new, creative ways to be a direct conduit for these young delegates, their peers, and YOU, to connect directly to the UN. We promise to sift through all the information, get to the heart of the issues, and focus on one thing -- creating a better world, together.