On International Youth Day, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme supported an event organized by all United Nations agencies in Brazil, along with the Brazilian Government, to celebrate the date and discuss the theme Black Youth and Peace. Through this event, the United Nations promotes a debate about the challenges faced by black young people in Brazil regarding violence, and access to more choices and opportunities.
The UN House in Brasilia had a day of open doors for young people to commemorate International Youth Day. Graffiti artists drew, on one of the internal walls of the complex, a panel on the topic Black Youth against Racism and for Peace. National UN Volunteer Julia Lima, who works with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Communications Unit, took photos of the event. She describes her work and her motivations:
I believe that communication is one of the most effective ways to engage people in actions that can change the way they think and hence the way society thinks. Working in my assignment as a UN Volunteer with the UNDP communications team in Brazil was especially gratifying today as I was able to see what our work can do, which is to engage people to discuss and take action in some of the most important issues of our society: violence against youth, and racism.
The event was organized by the UN Advisory Group on Youth, which includes UNV, UNDP, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), as well as the National Secretariat for Youth of Brazil, and civil society.
UN Youth Volunteer Michelle Elsaesser, who works in the Rio+ Centre for Sustainable Development, talked about her work and her motivation as a UN Youth Volunteer:
Youth are the future, and hence they have an indispensable role to play in the achievement of sustainable development. It is crucial to give a voice to young people and hear their expectations with regards to the Sustainable Development Goals. Volunteering for Development gives us the chance to engage in shaping the post-2015 development framework and spread our word for the future we want.
Its a great honour for me to join the Rio+ team as a UN Youth Volunteer and contribute to this think tank with my ideas and thoughts. Through my assignment, I hope to motivate other young people here in Brazil to become active in their communities, and help achieve change in society, she concluded.