UNITAR Hiroshima Office selects two high school students as Youth Ambassadors

by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

On October 18, two high school students were chosen as the first Youth Ambassadors by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Hiroshima Office. The Hiroshima Office had called for Youth Ambassador applications with the aim of nurturing youth in Hiroshima to assume roles in peace diplomacy in the future.

The appointment ceremony was held at Peace Memorial Museum in downtown Hiroshima.

The new Youth Ambassadors are Yuri Takeuchi, 17, a Hiroshima resident and a second-year student at Funairi High School, and Taiju Sasaki, 16, a resident of the city of Kure and a first-year student at Motomachi High School. They were selected from among 46 high school students in Hiroshima Prefecture who had sent in essays and took part in interviews on the topic of diplomacy and international contributions.

Alexander Mejia, head of UNITAR Asia Pacific, encouraged the students to work hard so that they can contribute to diplomacy and peace in the future. Both Mr. Sasaki and Ms. Takeuchi shared their hopes as Youth Ambassadors. Mr. Sasaki said, "I would like to help raise people's awareness of international cooperation and peace building," while Ms. Takeuchi said, "I would like to learn a lot about diplomacy." Their appointment will last until the end of June 2011. They will join a training to be held in Tokyo that will include a visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and U.N. organizations as well as UNITAR study sessions.

(Originally published on October 19, 2010)