Opinion

Hello from UNITAR: Youth Ambassadors – Future Leaders

by Yoko Morita, UNITAR Hiroshima Office

Our office has conducted the UNITAR Hiroshima Youth Ambassador Programme since 2010. The programme aims to foster youth in Hiroshima who can one day actively work in the international community. Since the programme’s inception, we have afforded 32 high school students the opportunity to think about how they can participate in international society.

Miyo Hataoka, now a third-year student at Hiroshima Jogakuin Senior High School, joined the programme last year. “It made me realize that we are the ones to create our own future,” Ms. Hataoka said. Before joining the Youth Ambassador Programme, she had already been interested in peace and international relations, partly motivated by the fact that her grandparents are A-bomb survivors. However, Ms. Hataoka’s impression of “international cooperation” had only been emergency humanitarian support. Through the programme, during which participants learned about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and spoke with UNITAR staff from South Sudan, Ms. Hataoka came to understand that she could contribute to international society through any field. “I used to view global issues as someone else’s problem. The programme suddenly made it personal for me,” she added. Ms. Hataoka is now aiming to become a medical doctor and is considering working for an international organization or NGO.

For this year’s Youth Ambassador Programme, we are planning to hold three workshops on communication, presentation skills, and other subjects, beginning in July. Ms. Hataoka encourages all students to apply. She said, “Don't worry if you are unfamiliar with the subject matter. If you are even slightly interested, why not give it a try?” Applications are open until 25 June through our office website.

(Originally published on June 12, 2018)
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