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United Nations gets new youth association in Denmark

Open platform for youth involvement, partnered with the UN, to work from Copenhagen

A new UN youth organisation is to start up in Copenhagen, and it is calling for volunteers.

”We are a young startup, and the organization is supposed to be a space for people to fill up with activities, events and projects within the United Nations scope,” says Johan Juul, one of the founders of the Danish chapter of the organisation.

The other founder, Mignote Libsekal, an international studies student at Roskilde University, came up with the idea of creating the UNYA Denmark after working with the Model UN. Other countries had UN youth associations and she figured that Denmark needed one as well.

Organic platform

The goal is to increase active involvement in the UN and UN-related issues. For that purpose, UNYA will serve as an umbrella for other youth organizations. But Mignote doesn’t want the organization to become a bureaucratic awareness-raising platform.

”We envision it to be more of an organic platform, where people come in and we try to figure out a place for them, that fits what they want to do, how they want to contribute, how they want to get involved”, she says.

On Saturday, the organization will be introduced in greater detail, and participants in the event will get to know the associated organizations and their projects.

Multitude of partners

The partner organizations at the event will be ThinkRights, a human rights organisation; DanMUN, the Danish Model United Nations; the UNA School Service, an organisation that teaches about the UN at schools.

Also, a UN representative will talk about youth participation in the UN, and the UNYA Network will send a video message from Vienna to the new members in Denmark.

”Potential members will have a chance to look at what we have and whether they see a place for them,” Mignote says.

Driven by the members

The organization is geared towards issues relevant to youth, but applies a broad definition of that concept. “If you consider yourself a member of the youth or are studying, then you can be in,” explains Johan.

It already has some focus areas, such as the Danish withdrawal from the UN’s Youth Delegate program, and the projects of the partner organsations. However, it is open for its member’s initiatives, and encourages people to come with their own ideas.

“You can take part in two ways: by becoming a member or by becoming part of the organising committee,” Mignote says.

Funding will come from membership fees and external support, which is easier to get if there is also own funds available. The organization doesn’t receive financial support from the UN yet. ”I think we have to prove ourselves first,” Johan explains.

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