I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself as a candidate for the Advisory Council on Youth at the upcoming election. I am nominated as a candidate by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts based on my extensive skills and experience, and to take over from Alice Barbieri who has successfully served two mandates on behalf of our organisation.
Having volunteered and worked extensively in the youth sector, I am passionate about the power of young people and of youth organisations to affect change. I am excited by the prospect of being able to bring my skills and experience, as well as my dedication and work ethic, to the forum of the Advisory Council in order to help shape a policy environment that can magnify the impact of youth and our organisations across the continent.
My skills and experiences would serve me well in addressing the three priority areas of the next mandate: access to rights; youth participation and youth; and inclusive and peaceful societies. I have taken a lead within WAGGGS’ UK member organisation Girlguiding, championing youth participation in decision-making structures and the promotion of youth rights through our programme and activities. In my paid work for Woodcraft Folk, the UK member organisation of IFM-SEI, I have used my knowledge of these areas alongside my youth work experience to support the organisation’s growth, particularly in areas where government austerity has reduced other youth services. The promotion of peace is a key principle of Woodcraft Folk and as such I am experienced in non-formal peace education in particular. I could make a valuable contribution to the work of the advisory council during the next mandate by drawing upon these experiences.
My experience working on Agenda 2030 will also be of benefit to the Advisory Council over the next two years. Through WAGGGS and the UN Major Group for Children and Youth, I participated in the Rio+20 UN Conference and the subsequent Post-2015 negotiation process. In particular, I championed the importance of a stand-alone goal on gender equality alongside gender and age disaggregated data collection to understand the impact of all goals on young people and on women. I believe it is important to apply these lenses to the data upon which policy decisions are made to ensure youth policy is gender sensitive and policies in other areas fully account for their impact on young people. Doing so with Agenda 2030 in mind ensures the work of the Council of Europe enables progress towards our shared global goals. Having participated in other international fora and supranational organisations, I would bring my knowledge of these structures and ways of working to the Advisory Council.
I understand the shared interests and concerns that transcend individual youth organisations priorities. Similarly, through my engagement with supranational structures such as the UN and European youth events like Yo!Fest, I both understand the value of, and have the skills to facilitate and collectively advocate on behalf of a diverse range of organisations and individuals. My interpersonal skills are crucial to understanding others perspectives and identifying common ground between us – to make progress through consensus decision-making. I would be able to use these skills and knowledge to represent the interests of the entire Youth Forum membership on the Advisory Council. By working closely with Alice Barbieri, a highly experienced delegate, we can ensure a smooth transition between mandates and I would be able to continue her work on gender mainstreaming within the work of the Council of Europe and other European Institutions.
For all these reasons I hope to be elected at the European Youth Forum meeting this weekend.