Youth delegates from all over the world discuss peace and security at the OSCE-wide Youth Forum in Bratislava

The OSCE-wide Youth Forum was held at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia on October 28-29th, 2019 in Bratislava, Slovakia. The Forum invited youth delegates from different countries to bring diverse perspectives to the discussions on the topics of education, new technology, peacebuilding, rule of law, environment and energy, and security and human rights.

  

Ban Ki-moon Centre CEO Monika Froehler featured as a keynote speaker, and Communications Officer Minji Kwag attended the Forum as a youth delegate from South Korea.

Delivering a welcome remark, Miroslav Lajčák, Foreign Minister of Slovakia and former President of the UNGA, emphasized:

“You are not here to listen to us; we are here to listen to you.”

He said that “excluding young people does not make any sense” because “it is the young people who are driving the changes we all need.”

He added that youth engagement is smart, effective, and necessary.

OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger introduced the OSCE Youth Ambassadors who helped to form this youth forum, an upcoming side event of the OSCE in Vienna for December 2019, and Albania’s OSCE Chairmanship that will succeed the Slovak Chairmanship of the OSCE in 2020.

  

“What are the main challenges?” “How can societies cooperate?”

Raising critical questions for the youth participants to draw on to seek for solutions, Greminger said:

“Together you would come up with great idea in out-of-the-box approaches.”

The UN Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake also shared her remark and words of encouragement in her video message:

“I encourage all of you to bring forward your ideas and possible solutions!”

As a keynote speaker, BKMC CEO Froehler presented the current status quo of the peace and security issues in the OSCE region as well as other regions in armed conflicts and mentioned about the existing peace-building movements and initiatives by youth.

“Safer future, what does it mean?

  

Acknowledging that peace, security, and safe future may have different meanings in different contexts, Froehler shared her hope that youth can make the change.

“You are the 50% of humankind. Youth need to rise to be the generation for being great.”

She said that the world has never been as educated as we are today and that we should see youth as “equal partners” and empower them to be “co-creators for these solutions.”

  

At the discussion table, BKMC Communications Officer Minji Kwag made a statement that South Korea could make a remarkable development within a short period of time thanks to the great support given by other countries and the international community.

Kwag said that it is crucial to ensure the sustainability of the development and that the country needs to give back to the world what it has received from them.

“Every one of us should regard ourselves as a global citizen and view the world as a globally shared village regardless of our age, gender, nationality, religion, and all the other aspects that each of our small societies has defined us with.”

In conclusion, Kwag quoted BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon, former United Nations Secretary-General:

“Be a global citizen; Act with passion and compassion.”

 

BKMC CEO Monika Froehler delivers a keynote at the OSCE-wide Youth Forum in Bratislava

On October 28th, young women and men from across the OSCE region and beyond gathered in Bratislava to discuss how to best engage youth for a safer future by 2030. The two-day OSCE-wide Youth Forum brought together young people, ambassadors, diplomats and experts for an inter-generational dialogue under the OSCE’s flagship Perspectives 20-30 initiative, a key priority of Slovakia’s OSCE Chair. Among the youth participants was the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens’ Communications Officer Minji Kwag who attended the Forum as a delegate from South Korea.

Opening the event, OSCE Chairperson and Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák noted that young people are still not always invited into the rooms of decision-making or given a seat at the table:

“This, simply, does not make sense. It is young people who are driving the changes we all need. They are acting as watchdogs for human rights and fighting corruption. They are finding niche ways to boost and expand our economies. They are speaking truth to power when it comes to climate change. And, they are out there, in some of the most dangerous parts of the world, engaging in their communities to build peace — even when this puts them at risk.”

OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger spoke about the significance of the Forum as part of a wider effort to integrate youth voices into the work of the OSCE.

“This event is part of a process, and not a one-off event. Its outcomes will be presented in a side event at the OSCE Ministerial Council in Bratislava in December, and will hopefully provide fresh food-for-thought for our debates. So, I encourage you to take the outcomes of this process seriously and to take these perhaps unconventional ideas back into our discussions in the Hofburg. We are also exploring ways to give continuity to the Perspectives 20-30 initiative in 2020 and beyond,” he said.

The main focus of today’s discussion was a ‘food-for-thought’ paper, Perspectives 20-30: Providing for a Safer Future, which was drafted by a Core Group of Experts made up of young people from across the OSCE area. Ideas in the paper were drawn upon by various speakers today, including issues such as gender equality, technology, education, conflict prevention and non-discrimination.

Speaking about the paper, OSCE Chairperson Lajčák said:

“It tells us — and this really caught my eye — that multilateralism is at risk. And that the only way to rebuild trust in institutions is to open them up; to better communicate what we are doing; to include more voices than ever before.”

Providing concrete input on how to further develop the paper, keynote speaker Monika Froehler of the Ban Ki-moon Centre urged participants to take the discussion paper as a first step in the right direction which now has to be followed by action. She called on all participants to capitalize on their own, individual capacities to drive change.

“Don’t ask what the OSCE can do for you, but what you can do for the OSCE and for the region,” she stressed.

Speaking on behalf of the Perspectives 20-30 Core Group of Experts, Katarina Kertysova underlined that youth currently constitutes one of the most under-represented groups in the political sphere.

“This week’s Forum is a powerful engagement tool and an opportunity for us – the youth – to take ownership of the solution,” she said. “We hope this will serve as an example for other organizations to follow.”

Participants of the OSCE Youth Forum continue to exchange their perspectives, facilitated by the two Special Representative of the Chair on Youth and Security Alba Brojka and Samuel Goda, and youth, peace and security experts from the OSCE, on the steps needed to secure a safer future through in-depth discussions on the rule of law, building peace, new technologies, environmental change, human rights, and education as a catalyst for change.

More information about the 20-30 Perspectives project can be found here: www.osce.org/youth

Source: OSCE Secretariat

BKMC and SDSN Youth announced the launch of the SDG Student Program Certificate at The Vatican!

“As Ban Ki-moon said, we do not have a Plan B, we only have Plan A. In my opinion, this plan A is the SDGs.” 

– Monika Froehler during the Vatican Youth Symposium 2019

On October 16, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) co-hosted the annual Vatican Youth Symposium at the Casina Pio IV, Vatican City. 

At the symposium, Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and SDSN Youth announced the launch of the SDG Students Program Certificate, a component of the SDG Students Program

Jointly developed by Ban Ki-Moon Centre for Global Citizens, SDSN Youth, and the SDG Academy, the Certificate aims to encourage university students around the world to learn about, engage with, and take action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Certificates are signed by Co-chair Ban Ki-Moon; Ms Chandrika Bahadur, President of the SDSN Association; and Mr Siamak Sam Loni, Global Coordinator of SDSN Youth.

“Today, more than 207 million students are enrolled in higher education. Young people have the energy, ideas, and determination to improve our communities, and we need to give students a platform to learn about the Sustainable Development Goals and take action in their local communities.” co-chair Ban said. “Through the creation of SDG Student Hubs on universities around the world, SDSN Youth is creating spaces for students to learn about, engage with, and take action to achieve the SDGs.”

The SDG Students Program is an initiative of SDSN Youth that aims to engage students in higher education in the global effort to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, as well as empower them with the knowledge, skills, and pathways to action to be effective agents of change today. Through the creation of a global network of hubs of learning and engagement for the SDGs on universities worldwide, the Program ensures that students from all walks of life have the opportunity to become drivers of new solutions to the problems that surround them.

“We need to make sure we raise the new generation of leaders that knows the SDGs and questions we currently have to tackle.”

– Monika Froehler during the Vatican Youth Symposium 2019

“We are excited to be partnering with SDSN Youth to launch the SDG Students Program Certificate, and to be an endorser of the SDG Students Program,” CEO Monika Froehler remarked at the launch. “By incorporating the content that the Ban Ki-moon Centre is producing into the SDG Students Program, we hope to give university students all over the world a foundational knowledge of sustainability that will aid them in all their future activities.”

In order to attain the Certificate, students need to complete several tasks across the three pillars of “learn about”, “engage with”, and “take action” on the SDGs. One of the core requirements for attaining the Certificate involves the completion of “Sustainable Development in the 21st Century with Ban Ki-moon”, a course co-developed by the Ban Ki-moon Centre and its partner the Institute for Global Engagement and Empowerment (IGEE) at Yonsei University. 

“Designed to be completed over the course of an academic year, it is our shared hope that when students achieve the Certificate, they will gain the foundational knowledge of sustainability and skills they need to be advocates for sustainability in the diverse occupations and industries they will enter,” Project Leader of the SDG Students Program Yi Jun Mock shared at the launch. 

“Moving forward, the SDG Students Program will remain a core element of SDSN Youth’s global programming for young people, and we are excited to continue deepening our cooperation with the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and the SDG Academy to reach an  even wider audience of university students around the world,” SDSN Youth Global Coordinator Siamak Sam Loni concluded.

Ban Ki-moon Centre co-hosts a peace talk with the WEP Asia fellows from Afghanistan

The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, and the Women in International Security (WIIS) Austria co-hosted an event titled “A Long Road to Peace: Realities, Hopes, and Visions from Afghanistan” in Vienna, Austria on October 8th, 2019. The WEP Asia fellows participated in the event, especially those from Afghanistan featuring as speakers.

Naeem Poyesh, Deputy Head and Counselor of the Embassy and Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Vienna, pointed out some of the main problems of the peace process in Afghanistan.

“There are many actors, but they have different goals,” said Poyesh.

He also addressed the issue of gender inequality in the peace process as women in Afghanistan society are rather expected to stay home.

Poyesh emphasized that

“we should seek peace” and that “we should not follow the seasonal policies based on elections and relationships,”

Viola Christian, Coordinator of the Women’s Empowerment Program, introduced to the gathered crowd the mission and the work of the Ban Ki-moon Centre as well as the WEP Asia fellows from Afghanistan, who came up to the stage to present their stories.

Laleh Rahimi from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan suggested solutions for the challenges faced in Afghanistan:

 

  1. All segments of society and people should jump into solving the challenges with common goals and unity.
  2. Afghanistan needs help and cooperation from the international community.
  3. “Educating women is so important!

“We have to raise our voices,” said Sohalia Rezaee, co-founder of the Afghanistan Youth Empowerment and Peace Building Organization (AYEPO).

She shared her story about being an Afghan refugee in Iran as well as other challenges she has faced as a young woman in her country after she returned. She was denied to go to school, asked to get married in early age, and lost her best friend during an attack.

In order for her to empower herself as well as other young women in her society, she established AYEPO and taught female students in high school age “leadership, personal skills and peacebuilding skills.”

The event also hosted a panel which was moderated by Professor Ebrahim Afsah of the University of Vienna and consisted of:

  • Farida Amiri, Founder of Peace Friends
  • Munira Aziz, European Union Delegation, Afghanistan
  • Hooria Sardarzaada, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of Afghanistan

Amiri shared her experience as a young female entrepreneur peace-builder and pointed out that it is difficult for young people and women “to take part in the decision-making process.”

She said, “our views, concerns, and commitments have to be showed to the international community and included at the table.”

Professor Afsah asked the panel,

“What is the role of international actors?”

Aziz responded with the importance of sustainability and accessibility:

“The support of the international community is crucial to build sustainable peace” she said, “the international community plays an essential role in including the remote areas and the marginalized communities.”

When Professor Afsah asked the panel about the role of private initiatives, Sardarzaada answered:

“It should be localized.”

“Education is the key.”

She said that “the Afghan government should speak on behalf of us and “work in unity” with the private sector and its allies and partners.

After the panel discussion, a number of the participants stayed longer to have a deeper conversation with the speakers and to have their questions answered regarding the peace-building process and women’s empowerment.

© BKMC / Eugenie Berger

 

WEP Asia fellows participate in a round table with women leaders

The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global CItizens together with the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna hosted a Round Table: “Effective Women Leadership” for the Women’s Empowerment Program (WEP) Asia participants on October 2nd in Vienna, Austria. The event was moderated by BKMC CEO Monika Froehler and featured outstanding women leaders as panelists:

  • Lulua Asaad, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer at UNODC
  • Selma Prodanovic, CEO and Founder of 1MillionStartups
  • Vera Strobachova Budway, Senior Coordination Advisor, Gender Section, OSCE
  • Helena Zimmerdahl, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Sweden in Vienna

The event provided a secured space where the fellows freely shared their personal stories, discussed various challenges they are facing, and received advice from the senior women leaders. Critical questions were raised such as

“What is a good/bad leader?”

“How can we make men with closed mind listen to us?”

“How can we overcome the challenges we are facing?”

 

 

 

 

 

Prodanovic said that the WEP Asia fellows have already achieved so much and that it is important for them to reflect on what they have done to succeed and think about how to further amplify the efforts.

She said, “the fact that you ladies are here shows that you are among the top 1% that cares about women’s empowerment” and encouraged the group to “follow your inner voice, and do the right thing!”

Budway shared her motto and encouraged the aspiring young women leaders to be “open for new challenges.

She said that one can become an expert in anything that she desires and is passionate about.

“Take risks; don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zone!” 

Zimmerdahl also reminded the young fellows that they don’t have to be good at everything. She continued, “Go easy on yourself. You are very capable but do not have to do it all” and encouraged the individuals to create their exit strategy and work on it.

“Even if you have chosen a path, if it does not make you feel comfortable, don’t be afraid to change this path.”

 

 

 

 

Asaad said, “leadership is not only about leading but having an impact on society and on the people around us.” She also stressed that “leadership is also about being authentic and being true to oneself.”

She then added that “the network that we have as women and with women is so important as we are essential in promoting each other” but that “Gender equality is a responsibility for everyone: boys, men, girls, and women.”

In consequence of the round table, Froehler moderated a workshop during which the WEP Asia fellows came up with their own list of the most important elements for being a good woman leader.

The group created a manifesto that consists of total 16 elements with which they will further develop their leadership skills and continue to make changes:

  • Let me be wrong in my way!
  • Lower your expectations.
  • Be vulnerable; Embrace yourself.
  • Dare to delegate.
  • Ask for help when needed.
  • Make small steps and celebrate small successes.
  • Change is not easy, but it was your choice.
  • Amplify; Speak for yourself.
  • Raise your voice even ignored or interrupted.
  • Amplify the voice of another woman.
  • Teach boys and men about gender equality.
  • Share inspirational stories about other women in other communities.
  • Read a book that inspires you.
  • Share what you find inspiring.
  • Find a mentor and a supporting system.
  • Get out of your comfort zone.
© BKMC / Eugenie Berger

WEP Asia fellows participates in the first workshop hosted at the Ban Ki-moon Centre

Change-makersmotivation, and peace. Everything you just said are the definitions of global citizens,” said BKMC CEO Monika Froehler.

The Women’s Empowerment Program fellows participated in an active workshop moderated by CEO Froehler at the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens office on October 1st, 2019. The group actively discussed the meaning of global citizenship, what are their favorite SDGs, and what they could do to achieve the Goals.

Co-chair Heinz Fischer also shared the history of women’s empowerment and what was the role of women in the development of the Austrian and European society.

“Today’s program was so useful for us because we found the SDGs and the connections between these Goals, and we could feel empowered to develop these Goals.” – Sohaila Rezaee from Afghanistan 🇦🇫

“The workshop today was very practical. It taught me skills in how to give my ideas in a structured and organized manner.” – Soo Min Jun from South Korea 🇰🇷

“I learned a lot about global citizenship, what it is to be a global citizen, and we had a lot of fun activities related to the SDGs. It is a very good opportunity to take time to talk about each one of them.” – Catherine Harry from Cambodia 🇰🇭

“I was worried that I felt far from the terms such as SDGs, Global Citizenship, and female leaders, but after this session, I found these terms to be fairly relatable to each one of us, to our countries and to our communities.” – Delgermaa Antangerel from Mongolia 🇲🇳

© BKMC / Eugenie Berger

Watch the video on #WEPAsia Day 2:

© BKMC / Angelika Lauber

BKMC launches the Women’s Empowerment Program (WEP) Asia!

The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens together with the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna officially launched the Women’s Empowerment Program and welcomed the selected fellows from Asia tp Vienna on September 30th, 2019. Total 20 of the outstanding women leaders from Cambodia, Afghanistan, South Korea, and Mongolia were chosen to participate in the tailor-made fellowship training for the upcoming 2 weeks.

At the welcome event, Deputy Director Susanne Keppler-Schlesinger of the Diplomatic Academy said,

“the Austrian Empress Maria Theresia, a great  female leader herself, founded the Diplomatic Academy in 1754. She would be proud to see that today we are launching the Ban Ki-moon Centre’s Women’s Empowerment Program in the very institution that she built.”

The program will offer a unique opportunity to advance young international female global citizens’ potential to promote the Sustainable Development Goals and foster women’s empowerment in their countries of origin by training their communication skills, crisis management and mediation competencies at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna.

“We received hundreds of impressive applications in the past months. You are the 20 Global Citizen Fellows that we have selected, and it is beautiful to see you gathered here today, already building international friendships and a network of change makers,” said the organizer of the program Viola Christian.

This fellowship training program will offer an environment in which young women can refine their ability to make sustainable change and grow their networks to become the leaders of tomorrow.

“In these two weeks,” said BKMC CEO Monika Froehler to the fellows, “you will further develop your skill-set to make sustainable development happen and to empower women globally.”

The fellows had the time to introduce themselves to each other and share their innovative ideas and initiatives to contribute to the sustainable development in our shared society.

Watch the video update of the WEP Asia on Day 1:

Learn more about WEP Asia: https://bankimooncentre.org/projects/wep

Photos by Eugenie Berger
Video by Angelika Lauber

BKMC and UNESCO APCEIU launch an online course on Global Citizenship and the SDGs

On September 30th, 2019, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens in cooperation with the GCED Online Campus team of UNESCO APCEIU launched the first collaborative online course titled:

“Becoming Global Citizens for a Sustainable Society”

The course introduces the SDGs and the notion of global citizenship through the series of lectures by renowned experts from all over the world, interviews with scholars, advocates and representatives from all different sectors, and case presentations by active global citizens. With the course, the Ban Ki-moon Centre aims to examine and critically reflect on the revolving issues around the globe at local, national, and global levels. By introducing the best practices from different parts of the world, the course also encourages learners to take actions as global citizens to reach sustainable development for all.

Following topics will be discussed throughout the course
ㆍ Global Citizenship and the SDGs (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals)
ㆍ Global Citizenship in a Challenging World
ㆍ Act to Change: Global Citizenship for Transformation
ㆍ Meet the Global Citizens around the World
ㆍ Plan for Action: Becoming Active Global Citizens

👉 Register for the course now to learn how to be a Global Citizen: http://bitly.kr/EctbVMb

Promotional Video 1

Promotional Video 2

 

SDSN Youth launches the SDG Students Program in support of the Ban Ki-moon Centre

On September 17th, the SDSN Youth officially announced that the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens is endorsing its SDG Students Program, which is a youth initiative aimed to engage students in higher education in the global effort to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDSN Youth representative said,

“The BKMC’s recognition of the fantastic work done by our SDG Student Hubs and SDG Coordinators in engaging students in the 2030 Agenda is an important encouragement so that we can keep working towards our goal of a better future.”

As the youth division of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the SDSN Youth’s mission is to empower young people globally to create sustainable solutions. Through its SDG Students Program, the SDSN Youth aims to not only engage students globally but also to empower them with the knowledge, skills, and pathways to action to be effective agents of change today, which coincides with the mission of the Ban Ki-moon Centre.

To those students who have actively learned about, engaged with, and taken action on the SDGs, “The SDG STudents Program Certificate” signed by Co-chair Ban Ki-moon of the Centre, Global Coordinator Siamak Sam Loni of the SDSN Youth, and President Chandrika Bahadur of the SDSN Association will be conferred at the end of the program, One of the required criteria to complete the program is to take the Ban Ki-moon Centre’s online course titled “Sustainable Development in the 21st Century with Ban Ki-moon.” This course was co-developed by the Centre and its partner Institute for Global Engagement and Empowerment (IGEE) at Yonsei University and was launched on Coursera.

Watch Ban Ki-moon’s advocacy video:

Be Part of SDSN Youth's SDG Students Program!

A big thank you to Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens for giving a shout-out to our SDG Students Program, which brings 🙋‍♂️🙋‍♀️ together to create positive change for the #SDGs and the 🌎! Learn more about the Program ➡️ www.sdgstudent.orgCheck out what Ban Ki-moon, former United Nations Secretary-General and Co-Chair of the centre, has to say about it! ⬇️

Gepostet von UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network – Youth am Dienstag, 17. September 2019

Learn more about the SDSN Youth: https://sdsnyouth.org/ 
SDG Students Program: https://www.sdgstudent.org/ 

Co-chairs Ban and Fischer say: “The UN can not do anything without solidarity”

At the European Forum Alpbach 2019, BKMC Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer were interviewed on August 25th by Der Standard, an Austrian daily newspaper published in Vienna.

Journalist Christoph Prantner asked why multilateralism is essential to meet the major global challenges. The two agreed that the international community must find new unity and that otherwise the big global challenges such as the climate crisis can not be overcome.

Ban stressed the “importance of

multilateralism in solving global challenges,” giving examples on the trade war between the USA and China and the rise of populism in Europe. He said that “regional issues were solved through solidarity and diplomacy in the past.”

Fischer added, “leadership alone is not enough, global challenges are always politicalecological
and ideological.”
He used the Paris Agreement as one of the solutions for current issues.

Giving the World War II and the subsequent creation of the United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU), Fischer pointed out that “sometimes we need a shock/crisis to be able to move towards a bigger goal.”

 

Read more (GER): https://bit.ly/2k03s1O

© Eugenie Berger