By: Abimbola Adewole
It felt like just yesterday when hundreds of participants gathered together at the conference hall preparing for 1st August 2017. It reminds me of Christmas with my mother and cousins, we were always eager to eat Nigerian jollof rice and whenever Santa comes around, we must hear his reindeer regardless of our window closed.
Over the years, The DPI/NGO has challenged the world for genuine transformation for all, to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure human rights and prosperous and fulfilling lives for all by 2030. The DPI/NGO session bringing civil society together to discuss the vision for the “Intergenerational Dialogues on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” brought more than 40 speakers across the globe; business leaders as well as United Nation delegates, together with youth representatives gathered to dialogue on what the future holds by 2030. The focus was on a vision of the world we want; with gender equality, opening the door to full inclusion, breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty, access to employment throughout life, sharing responsibility for the planet, intergenerational innovation and Healthy living (physical and mental wellness).
It was a network of influential decision makers; Government officials, Civil Societies, Non-Profit Organizations and the youths across the globe. The event was held on August 1, 2017 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City and chaired by the Acting Under-Secretary General for Global Communications, Maher Nasser and co-chair Bruce Knotts, Director of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office & Chair of the NGO/DPI Executive Committee with Mary Norton, Maxton Scotland and moderated by Jeff Brez.
Other speakers include: H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson: President of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly. Jayathma Wickramanayake: Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, UN.Yao Shaojun: Counselor, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations.Donna Butts: Executive Director, Generations United. Binalakshmi Nepram: Founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network. Brianna Perez: Student, Star of Documentary Joe’s Violin. Cody Blattner: Lehigh University Student. Kevin Cassidy: Senior Communications and External Relations Officer, International Labor Organization. Patricia Talisse: Counseling Graduate of Aleppo University. H.E Mr. Hahn Choong-Hee: Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations. H.E. Mrs. Hayfa Matar: Deputy Permanent Representative of of Bahrain to the United Nations. Mariana Camara: Co-Founder, There Is No Limit Foundation. Jack Kupferman: Senior Attorney, NYC Department of the Aging. Bruno Rios Sanchez: Second Secretary, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations. Queen Mother Dr. Blakely: Goodwill Ambassador to Africa, Community Mayor of Harlem
Our expression is incomplete if we ignore the love shared among the New Future Foundation interns with Queen Mother Dr. Blakely and great moments of the conference that makes it memorable for many. Awesome and life changing quotes of the speakers sharing their experiences to the younger generation is something to behold:
“I think once you set a goal, you have to put every effort to achieving it, by working together whether we are young or old.” –Maher Nassar
“Even the youth of today have the right to inherit a planet that has a future for themselves and their children”. “Both generation must work together to come out with a solution.” –Maher Nassar
“Make an effort to talk to those at least two generations or 40 years difference from your own age if you can manage. Youth let seniors mentor you and seniors allow the youth to mention you.” –Bruce Knotts.
“I am not alone in facing age discrimination, on one end being told I am too young and now I am too old.” –Bruce Knotts.
“We need each other but not as combatants. New focus, new thought patterns, and finding new ways to make a living to meet sustainable goals.” –Maxton Scotland.
“I want to focus our goals on three things: connectivity, communication and consistency.” –Maxton Scotland.
“I do think as change happens sometimes change is for the better… around the whole world, in the realm of a good positive change in the world. But we have negative changes happening too. It’s up to us to turn those changes into positives, or at least ameliorate them.” –H.E Mr. Peter Thomson
“To achieve the sustainable development goals, we need to tap into the potential of both the old and the young.” – Peter Thomson.
“Young people need to take ownership of these goals, and old people who made things the way they are also need to take responsilities of the sustainable development.” -Peter Thomson
“Solidarity across generation is crucial for social development” –Jayathma Wickramanayake
“Our final goal is to combine the unique skills of all the generations and waste no time with what each generation does or does not have.” –Jayathma Wickramanayake
“The agenda is yours, the future is yours.” –Yao Shaojun
“We need to foster a community of a shared future for mankind.” -Yao Shaojun
“Making innovation the impetus of development, coordinated economic growth, social development and environmental protection ensures no one is left behind.” –Yao Shaojun
“When grandparent advantage and youth advantage are combined, they’re unstoppable.” –Donna Butts
“We need an authentic engagement of the bookend generation. This is an ongoing commitment.” –Donna Butts
“We can’t allow any generation to sit on the sidelines and not be engaged.” –Donna Butts
“While your government should be like your parents: the United Nations can be like your grandparents.” –Binalakshmi Nepram
“Trillions of dollars are spent each year on the arms industry. Ten percent of that industry could achieve all the SDGs by 2030.” –Binalakshmi Nepram
“Physical and mental health is a topic that should be more in force in the world. They coincide in ways that us as humans can’t control.” –Brianna Pere
“I really want to see gender equality that includes queer and transgender people.” –Cody Blattner
“We want to ensure that skills people bring are brought to jobs that they seek out.” -Kevin Cassidy
“If you are poor with a job, you have hope. When you lose hope, you are a body without a soul.” –Patricia Talisse.
“We are one humanity like one body.” –H.E Mr. Hahn Choong-Hee
“Our ultimate goal for everybody is that we a common commitment to preserve human dignity.” –Mr. Hahn Choong-Hee
“We need to recognize that the knowledge and expertise of retirees is not lost and we need to support them to continue to contribute to the society and sustainable goals.” -H.E. Mrs. Hayfa Matar
“Sustainability is usually defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability for future generations to meet their needs.” –H.E. Hahn Choong-Hee
“It is through dialogue that the future is built, it is up to the youth of today to build the world of tomorrow.” –Kevin Cassidy
“Artisans need consistency, not one-time jobs.” –Mariana Camara.
“Inter-generational innovation occurs when both the individuals and the purposes have overlapping necessities and goals.” -Jack Kupferman
“Raise awareness with public officials. It is essentials for officials to know the work you are doing so that they can direct your efforts to better the world.” –Bruno Rios Sanchez
“Education puts you in the center of opportunities. Never negotiate it when you see a book.” –Queen Mother Dr. Blakely
Finally, it was unanimously agreed, achieving these goals everybody must be seen participating to enable us to get to the visualized 2030.
It is a MOVEMENT, get INVOLVED!
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