By Selma Zouairi

On February 15th, 2024, Young European Leadership hosted a webinar with Italy’s UN Youth Delegates. This seminar has been in the works for many months with Partnerships Officer Selma Zouairi being the leading member responsible for the setting up of the session. The event delved into the critical role young voices play in shaping global climate policy and affecting real change. Insightful talks during the webinar highlighted the power of youth in international arenas, covering challenges, victories, and impactful insights. Fueled by energy and inspiration, the commitment to supporting young leaders in driving sustainable change has been strengthened. The discussions emphasized the significance of youth voices in crafting a better tomorrow, fostering a collective commitment to amplifying and leading together. A highlight video capturing the essence of the conversation, along with the full-length video, is accessible here. Stay connected with YEL’s social media accounts for updates on future events and initiatives.

Members in Attendance

On the YEL side, several high ranking members from the organization were present. The overall meeting was chaired by YEL Secretary General Augusto Gonzalez, who facilitated the conversation with Italy’s UN Youth Delegates. YEL Treasurer Federico Soattin, Vice President Marko Milutinović, and Director of Partnerships Maia Davies were also in attendance to represent the organization. The two Italian Delegates present were Giacomo Di Capua and Annarita Napolitano, and they were complemented by a special video message from Federica Gasbarro.

Profile of Invitees

Federica Gasparro:  Federica Gasparro is an Italian young activist advocating against climate change as well as a U.S. State Department alumni who participated in the prestigious ILVP exchange program. After completing her studies in Biological Sciences at the University of Tor Vergata in Rome, Federica Gasbarro is presently pursuing her studies in Sustainability and Energy Management at Bocconi University in Milan. The first of Federica’s three novels, published by the Mondadori Group, was featured on the Rai TV programme “Che Tempo Che Fa.”  She maintains a blog on the Huffington Post and a weekly piece on The Women In Forbes Italy’s 2021 ranking of up-and-coming Italian leaders; she is listed as one of the “100 NUMBER ONE” individuals. Being the sole Italian chosen by the UN (with Greta Thunberg), she has stood in for the young people in her nation who are fighting for a better future. 

Annarita Napolitano and Giacomo Di Capua They are the new Youth Delegates who represented the interest of young Italians during the General Assembly and at major UN events such as last year’s 78th United Nations General Assembly. The United Nations Youth Delegate Program is the main instrument through which Member States have the opportunity to include Youth Delegates within their diplomatic missions, enabling them to speak on behalf of their peers at the UN Headquarters during the General Assembly and at the Commission for Social Development, Commission on the Status of Women, Economic and Social Council Youth Forum and the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. The newly appointed Young Delegates took office in September: they have thus been the spokespersons for their peers in the most relevant international contexts since the 78th General Assembly by conducting a series of meetings aimed at boosting the Program’s momentum in supporting and encouraging the participation of young people in the policies and activities of the United Nations and the world of international relations, with a particular focus on the promotion of Human Rights. The theme they have chosen to focus on is youth demands on Climate Action (SDG13 of the 2030 Agenda), as they believe it is essential to the achievement of truly sustainable development.

YEL’s Involvement & Future Cooperation

Young European Leadership plans to continue its engagement with the UN Youth Delegations following this latest webinar. As we look ahead, our focus remains on elevating youth voices in shaping global climate policy. We will continue to play a pivotal role in orchestrating future sessions, ensuring a robust platform for meaningful discussions; building on the insights gained, we plan to expand our collaborative efforts. Our commitment to amplifying diverse perspectives will see continued collaboration with influential figures such as activist Federica Gasparro, who will contribute her experiences and expertise in climate advocacy. Recognizing the importance of international representation, we will sustain and continue to grow our partnership with Italy’s UN Youth Delegates, and to further institutionalize this collaboration moving forward. Furthermore, YEL will actively plan and organize subsequent webinars, discussions, and initiatives that not only delve into the challenges and victories of youth engagement on the global stage but also foster an environment for proactive solutions and policy advocacy.