UNF board members engage Jordanian youth in dialogue on participation and empowerment

October 24, 2007

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department – Amman)  the United Nations Foundation Board Members marked the first day of a three day visit to discover Jordan and explore opportunities in the Kingdom. Queen Rania, a UNF board member since 2006, joined the board for a dynamic and engaging conversation with 25 Jordanian Youth.
“The UN Foundation is excited to be in Jordan at the invitation of our Board Member, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, so we can learn more about this country and the UN's important role here,” said UNF founder Ted Turner.
“Participation means everything,” said Ahmad, to attending board members including Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah; Kofi Annan, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations; Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General Emeritus, World Health Organization; Ruth Cardoso, Chair, Comunidade Solidaria; Hisashi Owada, Judge, International Court of Justice; Nafis Sadik, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General; Ted Turner (Chairman), Chairman, Turner Enterprises; Timothy E. Wirth, President, United Nations Foundation and Better World Fund; Andrew Young, Chairman, Good Works International; Yuan Ming, Director of the Institute of International Relations at Beijing University; and Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate and Founder, Grameen Bank of Bangladesh.
After an engaging ice-breaking session where board members stood side by side with the excited adolescents, participants broke up into smaller groups based on interests where they engaged the youth in a vibrant conversation on how to best harness their energies and engage youth in decision making processes. Divided by themes, the five tables focused on “family life”, “educational institutions”, “working environment”, “local community”, and “media and the internet”.
Each group addressed their topics with creativity and interest, as board members contributed their relevant insight and brainstormed solutions with the youth.
“Youth are a socially and politically transformative force,” said Queen Rania, as she encouraged youth to look into successful examples of youth centers in Jordan.
Since 1998, UNF has continuously supported UN collaborative programming for adolescents in Jordan by investing nearly $6.4 million to the UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO, UNDP, and UNIFEM. UNICEF Jordan received approximately $3.8 million from UNF including $1.5 million from USAID/Jordan, which contributed to creating public interest and commitment to improving the situation of adolescents, especially girls, in the Kingdom. With this support, UNICEF in Jordan has been able to provide increased opportunities for adolescents by directly working with the government in coordination with national and international partners.
Currently, with UNICEF and USAID, UNF is working on projects that include integrating adolescents into community governance, promoting youth led activities in and out of schools, and positive media about youth, with a specific focus on girls. A partnership has also been established with the Greater Amman Municipality to form a Children Municipal Council.
After the youth forum, board members held their second board meeting for 2007, where they discussed a number of the key UNF campaigns and outlined plans for the next year.
One of the UNF campaigns, which further aims at reaching out and engage youth, is the People Speak (TPS) initiative. TPS is the UNF’s youth outreach program. TPS works to help young people be engaged and empowered global citizens and be more informed about the global issues that will shape their future. TPS encourages participation of young people through a series of yearly activities and an interactive website (www.thepeoplespeak.org) that features new media components, such as blogs, videos, and podcasts, an interactive feature that the Jordanian youth showed a keen interest in.