The weekend of August 12th, myself and two young BPW members from the NYC chapter, Ms. Djenabou Bah and Ms. Rafath Gnabode, attended the 27th annual Youth Assembly hosted by AFS. We were able to attend this conference thanks to generous funding from BPW International.
I learned about the Youth Assembly through an advertisement on LinkedIn. It seemed a great way to network with youth from around the world, learn new skills, and promote BPW and our work. When I mentioned the conference in the YBPW Global WhatsApp group, I was encouraged to go by past International YBPW Chair Neelima Basnet, who had previously attended and said the experience changed her life.
The conference was attended by hundreds of youth delegates from over 60 countries. The opening ceremony took place on International Youth Day in the United Nations ECOSOC chamber; it was an exciting experience. Throughout the weekend, various panel discussions were hosted featuring industry leaders and fellow youth making a difference.
It was inspiring to see so many young people taking steps to address the challenges they saw in their communities and the world.
I attended one panel hosted by Youth Assembly alums and learned how they used their experience at the conference to create new movements and initiatives. I hope to have a similar story to share next year!
During the second day of the conference, I had the pleasure of presenting the Afghan Women Project during a live pitch to a panel of judges as one of the finalists for the AFS Young Global Citizens award. Although we ultimately did not win the award, it was an honor to be selected as a finalist.
The experience presented an amazing opportunity to share about BPW and our work. Many people approached me after the pitch, asking how they could be involved with the project and recommending organizations for collaboration. Several people asked about chapters in various countries, including Peru, Colombia, Nigeria, and Senegal. I felt truly honored to be representing BPW at the Youth Assembly.
Beyond the programs offered at the Youth Assembly, the networking opportunities were fantastic. One person I spoke with was an employee of AFS who represents the organization at the UN. He was so impressed by my work on the Afghan Women Project that he invited me to interview for a position on the UN Department of Global Communications Youth Representative Steering Committee, of which he is a senior advisor. This would be an excellent opportunity for BPW to strengthen our relationship and presence at the UN and increase the notoriety of our organization. I would love to discuss this opportunity with our UN representatives.
Attending the Youth Assembly proved a great way to market BPW and provided professional growth and networking for our members.
I would love to have more YBPW members worldwide be able to attend next year. I think there is great potential for marketing and bringing in new members. Thank you, again, for providing the funding for our young members in NYC to be able to attend this event. Hopefully, we will be able to attend again next year!
By Emily VanVleck
Young BPW Chair
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