By Jonas Meuleman, University of North Texas
Jonas is a GenUN member and sophomore at the University of North Texas.
In fall 2016, I attended the World Federation of United Nations Association (WFUNA) Youth Seminar in Kuala Lumpur. I had never been to Asia before, and the flight was immensely long. I left DFW airport in Texas very excited and 24 hours later I finally arrived in Hong Kong.
I was there first; as soon as some other participants started to arrive too, I was certain that this would become a great week. I started to talk to people and I was surprised with how diverse the group was; there were two girls from Sweden, a guy from Nepal, two other Americans, of course a lot of Malaysian participants.
The first item on the prospectus was an introduction with internationally renowned guest speakers, including Mr. Tan Sri Razali, which to me was one of the most memorable and inspiring speeches I had ever seen.
During the next two days we started to work on our projects concerning Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals: creating a peaceful and inclusive society. We could choose subtopics that we would do our projects on (I was in the Access to Justice group) and we had many workshops, including a project implementation and fundraising workshop.
The third day, we also had a social night in which we would learn to know the other participants a little better. This was a fantastic opportunity do that while exploring Malaysia. Finally, on our last day, we visited the breathtaking historic town of Malacca. We learned a lot about Malaysian culture and history, and to me this was one of the highlights of the program.
I would recommend participating in a youth seminar in the future. It has been a fantastic opportunity for me as an individual, but it was also great to see how so many young, bright individuals could come together to work on something together, especially in these times of anxiety and anger. I am very sure that we will be the generation that will implement these sustainable development goals, if we all work together like we did at the 2016 Youth Seminar in Kuala Lumpur.