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Columbia Hosts UN Panels on Global Youth Issues

March 26, 2014

Columbia hosted a daylong series of panels – “Toward a Better Understanding of Youth Marginalization” – organized by the university’s Global Policy Initiative and the United Nations Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. The meeting featured UN officials with youth activists and leaders from around the world.

Columbia Global Centers webcast the March 24 panels to its eight centers, where staff contributed questions to each panel’s follow up discussions. Many of the panelists also spoke the following day at the UN’s Trusteeship Council Chamber.

The event was co-hosted by Michael Doyle, director of the Global Policy Initiative and the Harold Brown Professor of US Foreign and Security Policy and Professor of Law and Political Science, and Ahmad Alhendawi, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.

The program included four panels:

  • A Rights-Based Approach to Youth Inequalities
  • Youth in Governance and Political Participation
  • Gender and Health Marginalization
  • Youth Experiences of Employment, Education and Migration

Panelists included youth leaders and activists from Sierra Leone, Egypt, the Navajo Nation, Mexico, Croatia and the United Kingdom. Several local and international UN officials also joined the panels, along with Columbia’s Jeffrey Fagan, the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law.

Panelist Kate Gilmore touched on the main focus of the conversation on the third panel of the day on Gender and Health Marginalization. Gilmore is a UN Assistant Secretary-General and a deputy executive director of the UN Population Fund.

"We have to put the human rights of young people at the heart of the agenda," she said. "The safe rite of passage of children to adulthood is not their responsibility. It's ours. And we are failing miserably."

Slideshow

The event was co-hosted by Michael Doyle (below left), director of the Global Policy Initiative and the Harold Brown Professor of US Foreign and Security Policy and Professor of Law and Political Science, and Ahmad Alhendawi (below right), the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.