A one-day symposium on youth resilience for successful implementation of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has taken place at the UN Headquarters in New York.
The event organized by the IBREA Foundation and co-sponsored by Liberia's Permanent Mission to the United Nations and the Missions of Malawi, El Salvador and Honduras, focused on how youths can blend attitude and skills to realize their potential and contribute to the attainment of the SDGs.
Speaking at the opening session of the symposium, Liberia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Lewis Garseedah Brown, said the conversation is no longer about what can be given the youths, rather what can be done to inspire them to contribute to local and global development.
According to a dispatch from Liberia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, Ambassador Brown believes that no inspiration is more important to young people than making them believe in themselves and rewarding their discipline and hard work.
"No inspiration is perhaps more important to our young people than lifting them to believe that it lies within them to change their circumstances. When we enable their resolve, and teach them that patience, discipline and hard work can and will be justly rewarded, we prepare them for the challenges that they must overcome to create a brighter future," Ambassador Brown stressed.
The Liberian envoy observed that the world is currently seeing the largest population of youth ever and needs the cooperation, talent, and genius of the young generation to meet the objectives laid out in the SDGs.
"From the economy to the environment, the youth are paramount in global change. They have the inherent abilities. All that they need is the empowerment to realize global change," he said.
Sharing Liberia’s effort to empower young people, Ambassador Brown spoke of the youth-led consultation for the revision of the national youth policy that aims to address youth employment issues, education, disabilities, justice, reproductive rights, among others.
He thanked IBREA for the work it’s doing across the world to promote mental health and inner strength, and made specific reference to the foundation’s work in Liberia that made remarkable impact within just four months.
“For four months, IBREA taught at two public schools. After the training, students reported better self-esteem, better gender relations at school, better motivation and self-regulation, better peer relationships, and decreased problems with trauma,” Ambassador Brown disclosed. For her part, the Program Director of IBREA Foundation, Isabel Pastor Guzman, said when young people connect to their bodies and release their inner strength, they find the tools to get out of difficult realities.
She stressed the need for the youth to find solutions to the problems they are faced with and take ownership; observing that when young people depend on outside sources for solutions they are constrained to continue to look up to them for answers.
Inspiring presentations on topics including: The Value of Resilience in Overcoming Trauma Successfully, The Power of Self-Healing, The Importance of Social-Emotional and Character Development as well as experience sharing by beneficiaries of IBREA teachings characterized the seminar, which brought together scores of young people from across the United States and other parts of the world.
Presenters included youthful clinical psychologist, Dr. Caryn Rodgers of the Albert Einstein School of Medicine and Sierra Leonean youth activist, Chernor Bah.
IBREA Foundation is a non-profit organization having special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.