Great work in Rome by our delegates Alex Eaton, Jasmine Hull and Phoebe McDonnell at the 2019 WFUNA European UNA and Youth Meeting. We are extremely grateful to SIOI and World Federation of United Nations Associations Youth Network for hosting this event. Below is the blog post our CUUNA delegates wrote for the WFUNA Youth Blog about our experience there, you can also read it here: https://tmblr.co/Zptbnw2iWEiKK
Cambridge University United Nations Association (CUUNA) recently attended the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) European UNA and Youth meeting in Rome over 19-21 May, along with attendees from 18 other Member States.
Key themes of the meeting revolved around the importance of multilateralism in our current age of insular populism, and how individual UNAs can better cooperate, through the liaison network of WFUNA, to build a European movement of young people for a stronger UN. The Keynote address was given by Staffan de Mistura, Former UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Special Envoy for Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon. Mr de Mistura spoke at length about the difficulties faced for multilateralists in the current world order, and therefore how important it is for national UNAs to coordinate with each other regarding their activities and initiatives; this is particularly relevant for youth work.
This was followed by presentations from various United Nations Youth Association representatives from across Europe about the work they have recently undertaken, and their plans moving forward. One stand-out presentation was that delivered by Hamsika Premkumar, President of Oslo United Nations Student Association, who described their journey from formation of the Norwegian youth wing in 2017 with just 5 members, through to their UN Theme Week event that took place in March 2019 with 170 organisers and over 3000 attendees. CUUNA presented on their efforts to re-establish the UK’s youth wing, and of how one of its first priorities should be the implementation of the UN Youth Delegate Program – of which the Italian delegation was in attendance at this meeting, and elaborated on how they successfully rolled out their program in 2017.
Delegates also attended a panel event at the headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The meeting concluded with a joint session of youth and senior representatives at which the future agenda of WFUNA’s European meetings was discussed, and further possibilities for multilateral UNA cooperation proposed.