The United Nations is celebrating its 75th anniversary with the theme: Shaping our future together — 2020 and beyond. This is a time to pause and to ask ourselves what is the purpose of this global institution? Does the world need a UN? Do we embrace multilateralism and the democratic process? The Preamble to the UN Charter states that the purpose of the UN was to prevent war in the present and future generations.
For more information: https://www.un.org/en/un75
Testimony by Michael Stevanovich, Augustinians International youth representative from Lehigh University:
This Wednesday, six youth leaders from around the world sat on a panel with the Secretary-General at UN Headquarters in New York on Wednesday to share their visions for a future that includes the voices of everyone including youth from around the world. This event which placed students alongside ambassadors and prominent UN officials. Amongst the issues discussed were multilateralism, youth empowerment, and climate change. When addressing multilateralism, the panelists highlighted the key role that civil society must play in ensuring a United Nations that represents all voices. Furthermore, we must engage and educate those left behind by multilateralism to heal the divides in our global community. While this event was centered on Youth engagement, the panelist recognized we have much further to go, to address the most pressing issues facing our plant we must embrace Youth as decision-makers and not simply just consultant.
While this forum highlighted some of the key issues facing the next generation, it failed to outline a clear vision to address these issues. This is where Augustinians can play a key role in the UN. As a part of civil society, we must hold the leaders of the UN accountable to more than discuss these issues but rather demand a clear vision forward. To take the critical actions needed to address these key issues we must not only hear the voices of the powerful nations and the corporations but the margins in society that are most affected by these problems and have the greatest insight into the change we need. As Augustinians, we must bear witness and be a voice for those on the margins to ensure that the next 75 years of the UN will truly include all voices.