Gabriel Risk Martins - GenUN Fellow - United Nations Association
Participating in the UNA Global Engagement Summit was such a humbling experience. Being surrounded by leaders from across the United States and the world inside the United Nations Headquarters in New York City was truly inspiring and life-changing.
The grandness of the General Assembly Hall, combined with the brilliance of the guest speakers, perfectly celebrated a message of hope and change that was instilled upon each of the conference attendees. Being able to witness and be part of the largest gathering of Americans supporting the United Nations is both historic and energizing. As a student, it can oftentimes feel like there is little that you can do to change the world, but individuals such as the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations and the President of the UN General Assembly have empowered young people to believe otherwise. Listening to these inspiring individuals, while sitting in the seats of diplomats, has made me realize that young people are the foundation of our world’s future leadership. Now the challenge for us is to begin enacting the change that our world so desperately needs.
Luckily, opportunities through UNA-USA allow young people to stay engaged with the United Nations as future global leaders. For example, on the Saturday following the Global Engagement Summit, 50 campus chapter leaders from all over the United States gathered in the UN Church Center to participate in a series of workshops set to engage and teach different practices for leaders to more effectively run their campus chapters. This is exactly the type of commitment that young leaders need to demonstrate to advocate on behalf of the United Nations and its mission in our communities.
As a young leader, these amazing opportunities lead me to look forward to making global impacts in my local community and beyond. Now that the UNA Global Engagement Summit has come to an end, I hope that other young people will also use their inspiration to continue working on behalf the United Nations within their own campuses. Moreover, I look forward to continuing this momentum and excitement going into the UNA Leadership Summit coming up in Washington DC in June.