#WeChampion Interview with Yasmine Sherif

On Tuesday 28 June 4 PM CEST, the Ban Ki-moon Centre (BKMC) is organizing the next “We Champion Speaker Series” session which showcases best practices and innovative approaches to Transformative Education. Register here. The event will welcome Director of Education Cannot Wait Yasmine Sherif to discuss the importance of delivering quality education in humanitarian crises like those occurring in Ukraine, Afghanistan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – especially to children and adolescents. Learn how Education Cannot Wait supports rapid responses to urgent education needs, turns investments into concrete public goods, and faces challenges in the field. Building on Mission 4.7’s #WeChampion social media campaign, the “We Champion” speaker series showcases best practices and innovative approaches to Transformative Education from across the Mission 4.7 community and beyond. The series will help further collective thinking around SDG 4.7 implementation and gather momentum on various thematic areas pertaining to SDG 4.7. AGENDA:
  • Interview with Director of Education Cannot Wait Yasmine Sherif and BKMC CEO Monika Froehler
  • Q&A Session with audience
Register here.

Virtual Roundtable “Voices of Hope: Realities of Afghan Women”

On Wednesday 25 May 5 PM CEST (8:30 PM AFT), the Ban Ki-moon Centre (BKMC) and its Afghan fellows from the Global Citizen Women Empowerment Program hosted a virtual roundtable “Voices of Hope: Realities of Afghan Women” to highlight the activism of Afghan women on the ground. 

International Gender Champions Her Excellency Manizha Bakhtari, Ambassador of Afghanistan to Vienna, and BKMC CEO Monika Froehler spotlighted Afghan women as resilient and active agents of change fighting for sustainable peace.

“The spirit of Afghan women will never die”  – H.E. Manizha Bakhtari

 

Both iterated the risks to civil society leaders, activists, and reporters, especially women, and their shrinking involvement in public life due to the Taliban’s fundamentalist hardliner policies. Their resistance is moving more and more off the streets and onto social media and smaller underground movements.

“We are currently experiencing a new generation of [ Afghan women] that is more enthusiastic and more focused.”  – Gender and Feminist Researcher at the McMaster University of Canada, Executive Director of the Immigrant Culture and Art Association (ICAA), and former Law Professor at Kabul University Marufa Shinware

With their knowledge and independence gained over the last 20 years, Afghan women are increasingly trying to transform the system they are living in and resisting the Taliban’s oppression. They also question the international community’s silence and condemn global misbelief in a new and more liberal Taliban regime. 

Increased solidarity is needed to fight for democracy, human rights, and peace. 

Watch the recording of our Roundtable via YouTube. 

Join us for our Virtual Roundtable “Voices of Hope: Realities of Afghan Women”

On Wednesday 25 May 5 PM CEST (8:30 PM AFT), the Ban Ki-moon Centre (BKMC) and its Afghan fellows from the Global Citizen Women Empowerment Program are organizing a virtual roundtable “Voices of Hope: Realities of Afghan Women” to provide a space for local, regional and international Afghan activists to come together and share their stories to a wide audience.

The event seeks to raise awareness about the current situation of Afghan women on the ground and spotlight local women’s activism as well as the international Afghan diaspora and their efforts in fighting for sustainable peace. The roundtable should serve to devictimize Afghanistan’s women and instead portray them as active agents of change. 

AGENDA:

Moderators: BKMC Program Officers Jessica Besch and Viola Christian

Welcome Remarks: BKMC CEO Monika Froehler

Opening Remarks: H.E. Ambassador Manizha Bakhtari, Ambassador of the Republic of Afghanistan to Vienna

Roundtable Discussion:

  • Hooria Sardar, Former Director-General of Women’s Economic Empowerment and Child Care at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in Afghanistan (MoLSA), Gender and Women Studies Expert, Women’s Rights Activist, and BKMC Global Citizen Fellow

  • Marufa Shinware, Gender and Feminist Researcher at the McMaster University of Canada, Executive Director of the Immigrant Culture and Art Association (ICAA), and former Law Professor at Kabul University

  • Dr. Zahra M., Dentist and Leader of the Afghan Women’s Unity and Solidarity Group 

BACKGROUND:

In 2019, at the margins of the first BKMC Women Empowerment Program, the Centre together with the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna and Women in International Security Austria organized the event “ A Long Road to Peace – Realities, Hopes, and Visions from Afghanistan”, featuring five of its stellar Afghan women fellows and activists as speakers. Processes of peace talks between the United States and the Taliban in that year gave reason for hope for a secure, democratic, and equal Afghanistan. Including women in these negotiations was deemed crucial for the achievement of sustainable peace and women’s rights. The fellows suggested solutions for their country’s challenges, talked about their own initiatives, and discussed women’s roles in decision-making and peace processes.

The developments since August 2021 and the internationally unrecognized governmental rule by the Taliban have once again crushed the rights and dignity of women and girls, spiraling into a humanitarian crisis as we speak. While some were able to leave Afghanistan on time, many are still stuck or staying voluntarily to defend their country against the authoritarian and extremist Taliban regime.

Adhering to its mission statement of empowering women and leaving no one behind, the BKMC wants to create a safe platform for its Afghan fellows to raise awareness about the situation of Afghan women and youth on the ground by jointly organizing an virtual roundtable. 

Register for the event here to join or zoom or click here to set a reminder for our live stream via YouTube. 

GC Scholars Discuss Sustainable African Cities at Bordeaux Summer School

Our 2022 Global Citizen Scholars attended the Bordeaux Summer School on “Sustainable African cities: multidisciplinary research to meet health, demographic, economic and political challenges” as their academic training for the scholarship program. 

Guest Blog: Shalom Abebaw, GC Scholar 2022

My personal experience with the Bordeaux Summer School program can be summarized as intense, insightful, and collaborative. I’ve had the honor and privilege of learning about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the sustainability of African Cities from experts from the Ban Ki-moon Centre and Bordeaux University. I’ve gained an interdisciplinary understanding of what it takes to create a sustainable African community. My favorite lecture would be one on air pollution, which is more related to my field of work and my chosen SDG-Micro Project. I’ve also participated in a workshop with other scholars on the SDGs, and I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with peers from various countries and backgrounds. I’ve also learned how businesses and individuals who incorporate SDG concepts into their work can benefit from increased productivity, new market opportunities, and improved stakeholder engagement.

Rania, Khaoula, Greta, and Sharon presented about Green Infrastructure investment in Lusaka, Zambia.
 

The BKMC Global Citizen Scholars of 2022 participated in a Bordeaux University intense summer school program on “Sustainable African cities: multidisciplinary research to solve health, demographic, economic, and political concerns” from 2 to 6 May.

The program featured an interdisciplinary approach, with professors, researchers, and representatives from Cote d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Health participating to provide deeper insights into sustainable African cities.

The program covered the following topics: African population dynamics, migration, pollution, and transportation, the political economy of food crises and food riots in the MENA region, and diet quality enhancement.

During the summer school week, 8 scholars participated in the tutored group work session with Bordeaux. 7 scholars attended a special workshop on the 17 sustainable development goals with the BKMC.

Food systems and stakeholder interactions in Côte d’Ivoire were presented by Joseph, Anna, and Emmanuel Hanyabui.
 
Aurian and Esmael gave a presentation on African air pollution.
 
Moussa and Dula discussed the issue of informal settlements and transportation issues in Addis Ababa.

Dorcas and Shalom presented recent trends on each SDG, providing a great overview of the current state of the global goals.

 

The scholars underwent the one-week intense summer school program and now have a basic understanding of what is required to build a sustainable city and community, which they will use when implementing their SDG Micro-Project. Stay tuned as our scholars start working on their SDG Micro-Projects! 

 

Launch Global Citizen Scholarship Program 2022

On 29 April 2022, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens launched its 5th Global Citizen Scholarship Program in partnership with RELX and Université de Bordeaux. 17 young changemakers from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and the Philippines will turn their passion for sustainable development into SDG Micro-Projects and empower their communities. CEO Monika Fröhler and Program Officer Jessica Besch held an introduction call to welcome the cohort and guide them in the different steps of their 8-months journey.

 

This week, from 2 to 6 May, the scholars are joining the online Summer School hosted by the University of Bordeaux to learn more about sustainable African cities. The program will continue virtually with expert workshops, mentoring sessions, and the SDG Micro-Project implementation phase.

 

Learn more about the Global Citizen Scholarship program and this year’s cohort here.

Virtual Ceremony – Women’s Empowerment Programme Latin America

On September 23, 2021, the virtual ceremony of the Women’s Empowerment Programme (WEP) Latin America gave occasion to celebrate the achievements of our 20 Global Citizen Fellows of the WEP Latin America. The organizers and the remarkable young women leaders came together to showcase the 20 SDG Micro-Projects that will be implemented between October 2021 and March 2022. During the 10-week leadership training from July to September 2021, the GC Fellows strengthened their skills to become changemakers for the SDGs. For the first time, the WEP was rolled out in the virtual space and still managed to connect a motivated cohort of young Brasilian, Bolivian, Honduran, Salvadoran and Peruvian women leaders on a professional and personal level.

The virtual ceremony shed light on the innovative SDG Micro-Projects that were incubated during the leadership training. As a special highlight, each of the participants received a unique illustration of their SDG Micro-Project, designed by the artist Kat J. Weiss. The four most compelling SDG Micro-Project video pitches were streamed during the event, demonstrating the immense potential that lies within to act as global citizens. Check out the illustrations at our online exhibition below: 

  Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens (BKMC) Co-chair Ban Ki-moon, BKMC CEO Monika Froehler, Deputy Head of the Diplomatic Academy Susanne Keppler Schlesinger and United Nations on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Programme Officer Lulua Assad gave congratulatory remarks. BKMC Programme Officer Viola Christian introduced the audience to the unique WEP experience.  We now look forward to accompanying the Global Citizen Fellows during the implementation of their SDG Micro-Projects, which will heavily focus on SDG5 Gender Equality and SDG4 Quality Education. Congratulations to all GC Fellows 2021! Watch below the graphic recording of the Education for Justice Action Plan (by Lana Lauren).

BAN KI-MOON STAGE at the RELX INSPIRATION DAY

On June 22nd, RELX hosted the seventh SDG Inspiration Day in collaboration with several organizations including the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, Global Citizen, UN Global Compact India, UN Global Compact UK. The virtual event explored the topic Mobilising Business for a Better World: Accelerating Business Action on the #SDGs. Watch all the sessions right here. 

This year the event hosted a Ban Ki-moon stage with opening remarks from the former United Nations Secretary-General himself. “We need everyone’s engagement. If we want this global roadmap to succeed by 2030, the contribution of businesses is essential. I am proud to have expanded and mainstreamed the UN Global Compact, which ensures that business is done both sustainably and responsibly.”…watch his full message below:

The same stage also hosted an interactive session moderated by BKMC CEO Monika Froehler joined by Youth Council Member of the World Humanitarian Forum and SDG Ambition Leader of UN Global Compact, Kenneth Kwok, Operations Consultant and Global Citizen Scholar Akosua Pepra, and Executive Director, UNGC India, Shabnam Siddiqui.

 

The session titled Mobilising future business leaders on the SDGs focused on the role of youth entrepreneurship and activism when it comes to achieving the 2030 Agenda. A key takeaway is to make the process of SDG implementation much general conclusion was that youth are seen as agents of implementation, but not seen as strategic partners who can join the decision table. Akosua demanded, “I think it is time to see youth as really important stakeholders in strategy and planning.”

Get more information about Relx Inspiration Day here. 

„Only the Beginning“– Closing of the ASEAN Youth for SDGs Webinar Series

Throughout a two-month period, 33 young leaders from the Southeast Asian Region took part in the ASEAN Youth for SDGs Webinar Series, organized by the BKMC in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). After participating in two webinars and one side event at the margins of the 14th UN Crime Congress, the ASEAN youth representatives were put in charge of planning their own SDG Micro-Projects during a one-month SDG Micro-Project Incubator phase. 

At the end of the Incubator, 33 SDG Micro-Project plans were submitted, accompanied by video pitches putting forth 33 innovative solutions to tackle local challenges and, thus, contribute to the SDGs.

On April 29th we celebrated the closing of the ASEAN Youth for SDGs Webinar Series. As a special highlight, each of the participants received their Certificate of Participation and a unique illustration of their SDG Micro-Project, designed by the artist Kat J. Weiss. The three most compelling video pitches were streamed during the event, demonstrating the immense potential that lies within to act as global citizens. Check out the illustrations at our online exhibition below:

     

Co-chair Heinz Fischer and UNODC Programme Officers Lulua Assad and Gilberto Duarte provided congratulatory remarks and the event provided the opportunity to reminisce about their learnings and experiences throughout the webinar series.

The cohort agreed that this was only the beginning and that the webinar series motivated them to actively contribute to the SDGs and turn their ideas into action. Congratulations to all! 

Looking for some inspiration to turn your ideas into action? Have a look at our album of action here and check out the video about the ASEAN Youth for SDGs Webinar Series below:

 

“One planet, one future – engaging youths for #SDGs”

On March 26th, the Dewey Centre hosted the event “One planet, one future – engaging youths for #SDGs” from Beijing, China, in partnership with the BKMC. The event was the second session of the new Dewey Global Dialogues series engaging young people in China with renowned international experts to inspire a generation of future leaders acting and leading with passion and compassion to build a better future.

The online dialogue welcomed Ban Ki-moon Centre Co-chair and 11th President of Austria, Heinz Fischer as well as Former United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Kim Won-soo and BKMC CEO Monika Froehler. Selected BKMC Fellows and Scholars also joined the panelists to discuss the importance of inclusive policies and how youth can tackle the SDGs in their own communities.  

“The fight against #climatechange is a fight to change the mind & attitudes of billions of people around the globe. #Young people are taking great strides in this fight. We are on the right path but will we be fast enough?” Co-chair Heinz Fischer

The young delegates had the opportunity to present the work they do addressing the SDGs in their own communities. BKMC Fellows Fay and Daad as well as BKMC Mentee Nesrin talked about how individual action is very important in reaching the 2030 Agenda and creating inclusive policies that leave no one behind. The young women were also able to ask questions directly to BKMC Co-chair Heinz Fischer about his thoughts on the serious lack of representation of women, youth, and marginalized people in policies around the world. Check out the BKMC youth representatives SDG Micro-Projects here. 

The clear message of the event was that the great task of the next generation is to manage this progress and make it fair – leaving no one behind.

The BKMC is looking forward to its future cooperation with the Dewey Centre and to many more challenging dialogues in the coming year. Together we can inspire a future generation of leaders embracing culture, diversity, creativity, compassion, and innovation.

Watch the full event below: 

Stay tuned for more information on this initiative!

ASEAN YOUTH FOR THE SDGs

The ASEAN Youth for SDGs Webinar Series aims to  elevate the knowledge and skills of 33 youth  representatives to effectively contribute to the SDGs,  take action,  and become SDG leaders in their communities. The program boasts three stages including, two expert webinars, one high-level side event as well as an SDG Micro-Project incubation period.

Under the umbrella of the UNODC’s Education for Justice (E4J) “Southeast Asian Youth Empowerment Dialogue” the representatives took part in two webinars one focusing on the SDGs, Global Citizenship, and SDG Micro-Project Implementation, and a second interactive ideation session with brainstorming and group presentations.

   

On March 11, the young participants took part in a virtual side event connecting them with Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer at UNODC Billy Batware, BKMC Global Citizen Scholar 2020 Barbara Nakijoba & Asia Coordinator for United Network of Young Peacebuilders Mridul Upadhyay. Gaining first-hand insights into the Kyoto Crime Congress the representatives discussed crime prevention through youth empowerment & global networks for SDG 16 Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.

 

The last phase of the program was launched on March 17 by CEO Monika Froehler and Program Officer Viola Christian. The SDG Micro-Project incubation phase will allow the 33 ASEAN youth delegates to spot a challenge and suggest a solution related to the disruption of education in times of COVID-19, youth unemployment, the digital literacy gap in rural and urban areas, mental health, and inclusive growth.

Stay tuned here for all the updates.

The ASEAN Youth for SDGs Webinar Series is implemented in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and is funded by the Government of Japan.