Checking in with Aya Chebbi, The African Union Youth Envoy

The Ban Ki-moon Centre had an informative online session with the first ever African Union Special Envoy on Youth and award-winning Pan-African feminist, Aya Chebbi, on Thursday, April 2.

  The discussion was centered on the AU Youth Envoy´s amazing campaigns and projects in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic that she and her peers have put into action. (Check out https://auyouthenvoy.org/) Aya Chebbi emphasized that the young people of the African continent were working together and in synchronization in their fight against this difficult challenge.   Similar to the calls for solidarity from global leaders, she explained “The young generation is working on coordinated efforts and trying to reach every single person we can.” Mentioning the economic challenges of the situation, she underlined the importance of global response funds such as the African Union COVID-19 Response Fund, the one led by the World Health Organization and the donation of 1.5 million test kits made by the Jack Ma foundation to the continent of Africa. Much more is still needed!   Working with volunteers and young change-makers, the African Union Youth Envoy has initiated multiple programs to include, educate and mobilize all countries in the region. Aya stated that young people are following the situation closely, trying to be a part of the solution and coming up with remarkable initiatives and action plans.   A pioneering project, the Virtual AU Youth Consultations on COVID-19 for Youth Collective Response in collaboration with Africa CDC, is a series of virtual consultations, now completing its 10th round, convened 150 youth leaders from 40 countries, that allows groups of young people to meet online to discuss emotional and physical issues caused by the virus. During these sessions, the attendees are able to learn from each other, brainstorm and come up with action plans on how to tackle urgent problems. The project highlights cross-border cooperation. These enlightening consultations can be held by any person or institution interested. You can find more information and the registration process here.   Aya Chebbi also informed the BKMC on the launch of a new initiative called the African Youth Charter Hustlers, a youth-led Pan-African accountability movement, to engage African youths in continental, regional and country-level advocacy across the continent. For more information on youth policy makers you can click here.   Another response of the African Union Youth Envoy was to create hotlines for every country on the continent. Anyone who needs support can call these hotline numbers and reach out for the help they need.   The Union is leading many more inspiring projects on topics such as policy making, youth advocacy, women entrepreneurship and fundraising. Visit https://ayachebbi.com/ to follow this great initiative and get updates on African efforts and Aya Chebbi.      

The second BKMC x UNESCO APCEIU collaborative online course is now available on GCED Online Campus!

Today on February 21st, 2020, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens is pleased to officially launch its second collaborative online course with UNESCO APCEIU on GCED Online Campus. Those who are interested in learning about the issues surrounding gender equality and how to effectively tackle the issues and contribute to empowering women and girls are cordially invited to take the course. This course provides global citizens an opportunity to learn from global leaders, experts and advocates from across sectors: international organizations, universities, NGOs, governments, and corporations. While our first course introduced the overall concept of global citizenship and the SDGs, our second course focuses on the topics of gender equality and women’s empowerment with a combination of the series of lectures by renowned international experts on concepts, theories and thematic areas, interviews with scholars, UN representatives, change makers, case presentations of innovative approaches and practices by global citizens all around the world. Understanding the 5th SDG – the multifaceted issues around it and the efforts put forth worldwide to achieve it – is the foundation for this course. Particularly, the course aims to examine and critically reflect on the revolving issues around both gender equality and women’s empowerment with sustainable development by providing a platform where learners can virtually meet and learn from one another. It brings a critical eye to gender inequality and how it is addressed in the field of sustainable development. Learners will be able to deepen their understanding of gender equality and women’s empowerment, exchange and embrace different perspectives, and challenge their own assumptions. The course invites those who see themselves as global citizens as well as who aspire to assume active roles in bringing meaningful changes to oneself and so the society they are in. “Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: A Pathways to Sustainable Development” is comprised of five modules: (1) Introduction to Gender Equality and Women’s Rights (2) Gender Equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (3) Women’s Empowerment (4) Critical Issues on Gender Equality (5) Plan for Action Paving the Way to Equality After completing all courses, students will received a Certificate issued by UNESCO APCEIU and the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens. Requirements for the completion are as followed: 1) Watch all lectures / videos 2) Participate in Form / Discussion 3) Take a quiz 4) Final Assignment 5) Course Evaluation Please invite those around you, who see themselves as global citizens as well as who aspire to assume active roles in bringing meaningful changes to oneself and to global society! Register HERE.

BKMC CEO Monika Froehler meets with IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi

On February 18th, BKMC CEO Monika Froehler made an official visit to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna and met with IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ During this meeting, CEO Monika Froehler and Program Officer Julia Zimmerman briefed IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi and his team on the works of BKMC and discussed potential avenues of cooperation, particularly related to education and the empowerment of women. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ © Dean Calma / IAEA

Ban Ki-moon boldly calls for “All Hands-on Deck” approach to achieve the SDGs at the Cambridge Union

“If we continue to hold back [women that is] a half of the world’s population, it is simply impossible to reach our full potential on the three UN pillars of peace and security, sustainable development, and human rights.”
On January 21, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon visited the Cambridge Union and gave a keynote on “SDGs and Women,” followed by a Q&A session.

“I believe that multilateralism much be the glue that binds our targeted efforts together.”

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon started off his address by reiterating the importance of multilateralism. According to him, multilateralism is the key to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in the world where nationalism, armed conflicts, climate crisis, and corruption are still rampant.

“We need to move forward with a sense of urgency with 10 years left to go.”

With respect to the fact that the progress of implementing the SDGs is indeed speeding up, Co-chair Ban also pointed out uneven rates of the implementation of the Global Goals across different regions. He boldly called for an “All Hands-on Deck” approach. Co-chair Ban furthermore stressed the importance of women’s empowerment of their active participation in achieving the SDGs. He said,
“The Empowerment of women is a prerequisite to global responses to global challenges, which are inherently interconnected.”
As a concluding remark, Co-chair Ban encouraged the Cambridge students to take a role as an active global citizen in coping with global challenges, think beyond national boundaries, and harness a global vision to achieve a better future for our planet and for humanity. He said,
“We can create the future we want, one that is anchored in sustainability, inclusion, and empowerment for all people and our planet. But we must remember that the challenges we face are simply too enormous to be left in the hands of a few leaders. All of us have to work together in solidarity.”
The Cambridge Union Society is the oldest debating society in the world and has been defending free speech since its start in 1815. Watch the full video.   © Nordin Ćatić / Cambridge Union

BKMC Holds the Reception marking the Launch #OrangeTheWorld Campaign in Austria

November 25 marks the International Day for the Eliminating of Violence against Women and the start of 16 Days of Activism to put an end to violence against women. Every year, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens cooperates with UN Women Austria, Soroptimist International Austria and HeForShe Graz to implement the global #OrangeTheWorld Campaign in Austria to raise awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence. On November 25, BKMC successfully launched the campaign of 2019 in the Centre. Co-chair Heinz Fischer and CEO Monika Froehler delivered welcome remarks, while Co-chair Ban Ki-moon sent words of appreciation with a video message. Representatives of the co-organizers Eliette Thurn from Soroptimist International Austria and Marcela Muniz Pivaral from UN Women Austria stressed the urgency of raising awareness for this topic. Head of HeForShe Graz, Bernhard Gollob, moderated a panel discussion with representatives from Austrian Victim Support Groups, entities that are based in Austrian hospitals and that are essential for detecting and preventing violence against women. We were grateful to our partners without whom it would not be possible to achieve such a large-scale contribution on behalf of Austria to this global campaign. © BKMC / Eugenie Berger

WEP GCC Certificate Ceremony Held in Diplomatic Academy of Vienna

On November 22, WEP GCC fellows were awarded with certificates for the completion of Women’s Empowerment Program – GCC that kicked off on November 11 and lasted for two weeks. Co-chair Heinz Fischer opened the ceremony with congratulatory remarks and said that the fellows should construct stronger network to support and stay in touch with each other. Deputy Director of Diplomatic Academy of Vienna Susanne Keppler-Schlesinger also congratulated the fellows for their hard work and thanked their commitments to advance the Sustainable Development Goals. Director General Adnan Shihab-Eldin of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences also delivered a congratulatory remark to the ladies. He said,
“Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences will remain as a partner for the SDGs.”
Lastly, the Ban Ki-moon Centre CEO Monika Froehler said,
“Never say what you cannot do, say what you can do and will do.”
She also thanked BKMC Program Officer Viola Christian for her endeavors and efforts to put together this amazing program. On behalf of all the WEP GCC fellows, Nourah Aloseimi from Kuwait delivered remarks and expressed gratitude for such inspiring and meaningful opportunities the Ban Ki-moon Centre has provided together with Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. Before the graduation, the WEP GCC fellows presented about their My SDG Micro-Project proposals, which they will implement in their own communities after the completion of their trainings. Visit BKMC gallery for more photos. © BKMC / Eugenie Berger

WEP GCC Fellows Participate in a Round Table: Effective Women Leaders

“I don’t want you to lower your expectation, but I want you to lower your self-criticism.”  – Helena Zimmerdahl from the Embassy of Sweden
Women’s Empowerment Program (WEP) is in its full swing! As a part of BKMC’s Women’s Empowerment Program, WEP GCC fellows participated in a Round Table hosted in Diplomatic Academy of Vienna on November 19. At this Round Table, Susanne Keppler-Schlesinger, Deputy Director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, featured as a moderator at the Round Table. Speakers were: Lulua Asaad from UNODC, Maggie Childs from Metropole and Austrian Startups, Mona Ali Khalil from MAK Law International, and Helena Zimmerdahl from the Embassy of Sweden to Austria. Lulua Asaad asked the fellows a critical question: “What does leadership mean to you?”

“It is important to have support from women within your network, while not neglecting the role of men.”

She also added that leadership is not about a position one is in, but responsibility leaders are capable of taking in their world. Regarding women’s empowerment, Mona Ali Khalil said,

“Empowerment of women requires men who are enlightened and women who are willing empower each other.”

As an international lawyer, she stressed that gender parity policies should be actual actions rather than lip service and should effectively address sexual harassment/sexual discrimination issues that still exist everywhere across the sectors. Minister-Counselor Helena Zimmerdahl pinpointed ‘transparency’ as an important trait of a good leader and said we must “speak up” for ourselves to make our voices heard. Zimmerdahl also advised the fellows to

“look at yourself and your accomplishments from the outside” in order to empower themselves.

Maggie Childs emphasized the need for getting help from mentors, friends and other experts when necessary and said,

“You don’t have to know everything before you do it… It is lonely at the top. You need to have your private space and friends who just listen to you. Having those friends would make you feel less lonely.”

A follow-up workshop was facilitated by WEP Project Coordinator Viola Christian from the Ban Ki-moon Centre. The fellows were grouped into 5 and discussed advice and points made from the Round Table, which they created their own manifesto with. © BKMC / Eugenie Berger For more photos of the event, visit BKMC album.

BKMC Welcomes the Women’s Empowerment Program GCC Fellows!

“More than ever does the world need young female leaders like yourself to advocate for a sustainable future with a fresh and innovative mind,” said Co-chair Ban Ki-moon in his video message.
Together with the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens hosted a welcome reception for the fellows of the Women’s Empowerment Program GCC on November 11th, 2019.

“You will shine, and you will empower others to shine with you!” – CEO Monika Froehler

Co-chair Heinz Fischer warmly welcomed the crowd and briefly introduced the history of Austria as a former President of Austria, and BKMC CEO Monika Froehler and Deputy Director Susanne Keppler-Schlesinger of the Diplomatic Academy also delivered remarks on the first day of the program. 
“In these two weeks, you will further develop your skill-set to make sustainable development happen and to empower women globally,” said Monika Froehler during her welcome remarks.
H.E. Ambassador Marafi from the Embassy of Kuwait participated in the welcome reception to welcome and congratulate all the selected fellows from GCC regions. 20 aspiring fellows of WEP GCC gathered from Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. They will be participating in a 2-week tailor-made program to advance their global potential to promote the Sustainable Development Goals and foster women’s empowerment.   Watch a video diary of WEP GCC’s first day!  

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 welcomes the Women’s Empowerment Program Asia fellows!

In cooperation with the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens hosted a welcome reception for the fellows of the Women’s Empowerment Program Asia on September 30th, 2019. Co-chair Heinz Fischer welcomed the crowd and introduced the history of Austria as a former President of Austria, and BKMC CEO Monika Froehler and Deputy Director Susanne Keppler-Schlesinger of the Diplomatic Academy also delivered remarks on the first day of the program.
“More than ever does the world need young female leaders like yourself to advocate for a sustainable future with a fresh and innovative mind,” said Co-chair Ban Ki-moon in his video message.
Among the participants were BKMC Board member Ambassador Shin Chae-hyun of the Embassy of South Korea in Vienna, Ambassador Khojesta Fana Ebrahimkhel of the Embassy of Afghanistan in Vienna, and Director Martin Nesirky of the United Nations Information Service. Watch Ban Ki-moon’s message:
© BKMC / Eugenie Berger