Scout Representatives at the United Nations Report
Greetings, we are Caitlin, Seruya, Andriy, Nathaniel and Julius - your Scout Representatives who recently participated in the opening events of the United Nations General Assembly! We learned so much and told people from all kinds of backgrounds about the work Scouts are doing around the world.
— Kolobov_Andrew (@Kolobov_Andrew) September 18, 2016
A handful of dedicated and enthusiastic scouts from around the world have just left New York, full of stories, bursting with new experiences and ready to tell the world what we learned.
Our diverse team had experience across many areas, so we had strong knowledge in many of the topics that were discussed. We all learned so much from each other, from cultural differences between our countries to new ways that Scouts are tackling challenges in their countries.
We spent 10 phenomenal days at the United Nations General Assembly opening week, attending meetings, engaging in discussions, and talking to diplomats to ensure that the voices of our 40 million young people are heard and recognised. Combined we attended over 140 hours of discussions about the Sustainable Development Goals, and a few other key issues. Topics ranged from sustainability and gender equality to children’s rights, refugees and migration.
We had the privilege of being able to ask some questions during a few of the panel discussions to learn more from the panelists about topics that related more directly to Scouts and the young people we represent.
These questions often focused on inclusion, and what countries and organisations were doing to ensure that young people have a say in matters which affect us. Being in the room with key people gave us the opportunity to raise concerns that we had with people who can actually make a difference.
— Intl Peace Institute (@ipinst) September 19, 2016
One of our team, Nathaniel, was invited to do a presentation at an event held at Columbia University on the work that Scouts in Cameroon are doing with refugees. He spoke very well and everyone was very impressed by the project and its results so far.
— World Scouting (@worldscouting) September 21, 2016
Networking and meeting people from many organisations and countries was another activity that we spent many hours on, not only because it was so inspiring and enjoyable, but also because it was very useful. We learned what other groups are doing in the areas of advocacy, children’s rights, and representation, and hope to use this information to help Scouts to further develop these areas in future. We also told them about all the advantages of non-formal education in some of the contexts that Scouting uses this method in. There is a lot of focus on formal education at an international level, so it was important for us to reinforce that some of the most important learning happens outside of the classroom.
Our final reason for attending was to show the world, and world leaders the amazing work that Scouting does for so many people in so many countries every day.
— CaitlinNZ (@thenamiwi) September 18, 2016
We talked to heads of state, ministers, chief executives, UN officials, and various influencers to let them know what we were doing in our NSOs and around the world. When we first arrived this was quite scary, but we learned by doing and by the second and third days we felt quite confident. Overall the people we spoke to were very receptive to our ideas and impressed by what Scouts have achieved so far. The support we felt from these influential people was very humbling.
Whether intentionally or not every national scout organisation seems to be working on at least some of the Sustainable Development Goals that the United nations developed last year. We are a strong force for change and will continue to make the world a better place. Now as we go back to our respective NSOs and start work on our reports for WOSM we hope to continue to give energy to this force and keep building the momentum.
Written by Caitlin Weich on behalf of the External Representative Team