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Youth Flash Newsletter July 2013

Malaladay - the phoenix rises from the ashes

In this issue of Youth Flash, you will find the following:

Feature Article:

  • Malala Day – the Phoenix Rises from the Ashes

News from UN offices

News from UN Information Centers (UNIC)

Youth in Action



Featured Article

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 By Khadija Ali*

If we look around ourselves in our daily lives or hear what people around us say more carefully, we would encounter ‘myths’ everyday; myths that perpetuate violence against women and present the very common and oft-repeated idea over and over again that women are sub-ordinate beings. Many would consider my views to be extreme but I merely reiterate my experiences in the field.                                          

During my sessions on awareness about anti-sexual harassment laws I usually ask my audience a very simple question: is it always the woman’s fault if she gets sexually harassed? More than ninety nine percent of the time the answer is a loud “Yes”. In order to back their assertions, attendees usually throw in excuses like “women wear provocative clothes”, “women like being harassed” etc. All such excuses are in fact “myths” which are accepted by the Pakistani society at large and perpetuated to uphold patriarchal norms. These norms in turn ensure that the focus is always on women’s morality. Crimes against women have a flavor of sensationalism for media. What we fail to understand is that this very act, of making the victim the only focus of the story, is helping the perpetrator of the crime to slip away.

In Pakistan what perplexes many women rights activist is the reality when the stigma for a woman stretches beyond just crimes of violence and encroaches on basic and fundamental human rights like education. In Pakistan, women internalize their role as extensions of their male counterparts in family. A woman is defined as a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mother, beyond that she has no identity. A woman is required to be in the ‘hifazat’ or protection of her male superiors at all times. This process of internalization of such ideas is so extreme and so forceful that many are unable to escape it. It is not at all shocking to hear people discourage girls’ education simply because a well-educated girl might not become a good wife or daughter-in-law in future. A well-educated girl might end up wanting independence or freedom which would, perhaps, cater a blow to the prevailing patriarchy in the society. So imagine how impressed I was when I saw young Malala advocate for girls’ education in Swat of all places!

I marvel at the strength and tenacity of the young Malala who raised her voice against these injustices. I remember watching her interview on a local news channel in Pakistan, and only a few minutes into watching her interview I instantly noticed how clear and progressive her thoughts were. “Azad khyal”, which in its closest meaning in English would mean an individual’s thought process free from constraints of social norms and traditions, is what came to my mind instantly. Even though use of the term ‘azad khyal’ for women in Pakistan bears negative connotations, I always found it to be a compliment of the highest level as it reflects a person’s intelligence and freedom. This young girl is the embodiment of the patriarchs’ greatest fears who did not stop at her own education but campaigned and advocated for the rights of other girls like her. Attack on Malala was a feeble and cowardice attempt by the Taliban to silence the voice calling for girls’ education.

News of the assassination attempt on Malala was highlighted on national and international news channels. The days after the attack were spent in prayers for recovery of this young girl. For many in Pakistan she has become a symbol of hope and rebellion in these trying times, which is all that many young Pakistanis need to get up and fight. Things seemed dismal at the time. Many believed she might not make it. While people waited for more news, one could see the fire of hope ignited by this young girl slowly dying with the wait. Miraculously Malala survived and she came back stronger than ever!

When I heard of the news that Malala for her sixteen birthday will be going to the United Nations to issue a global call for quality education for all, I could vision a phoenix rising from it’s ashes – that’s what Malala has achieved. The Taliban did not want her to promote education in Pakistan; she issued a global call for education at an international level at the United Nations. The Taliban did not want Pakistani girls to hear Malala’s calling out for their rights; on 12th July the whole world heard her voice and witnessed her struggle. In their failed attempt to mute and silence her voice, the Taliban ended turning up the volume higher for the World to hear and learn from. As I listened to her speech on 12th July, I along with others around me could not believe that she was speaking the words of a sixteen year old. Every sentence of her speech resonated fire and passion. Indeed, a phoenix has risen from ashes!

KHADIJA ALI is a young lawyer, activist and Member of UNiTE Youth Global Forum to End Violence against Women.

Follow her: Twitter: @KhadijaAliii, Blog:


Youth Flash Newsletter

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International Youth Day is approaching quickly and we wanted to update you on the plans for the event at UN headquarters.

The theme for this year is “Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward”, which highlights the importance of youth migration in development and draws attention to the mechanisms and opportunities that maximize benefits and minimize risks of youth migration.


To organize this event, DESA has partnered with ILO with support from the MDG Achievement Fund. 

If you are in New York, please come to the official UN event commemorating International Youth Day 2013 at UNHQ on Monday, 12 August 2013 in Conference Room One in the Conference Building

The programme will feature panel discussions including youth migrants, the presentation of the winning video of the ILO youth migration video contest, and presentation of the key messages from three updating reports on youth migration from Department of Economic and Social Affairs, International Labour Organization  and the Global Migration Group.   

How to participate?

Please confirm your attendance at by August 02, 2013

See Flyer here:


DESA features your activities on the online map of IYD events at

To commemorate the Day, you are encouraged to organize events or activities in your community.  Please share your commemoration with the world!

Please send info on your events to and we will feature them on the map

For more info visit our website:  or

Follow us:

Twitter: @UN4Youth



Malala Day – UN Youth Assembly

Education activist Malala Yousafzai marked her 16th birthday, on 12 July 2013, at the United Nations by making her first high-level public appearance and statement on the importance of education, as the featured speaker of the Malala Day – UN Youth Assembly.

In support of the UN Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative, on 12 July – declared as “Malala Day” -- the President of the UN General Assembly and the UN Special Envoy for Global Education with the support of A World at School initiative organized the UN Youth Assembly, where more than 500 young leaders from around the world convened to accelerate the goal of getting all children, especially girls, in school and learning by 2015. The UN Youth Assembly’s resolution, developed and passed by youth delegates, was entitled The Education We Want.

ILO Youth Employment Programme

The ILO calls for good practices on youth employment

Has your organization implemented a programme to support young people in accessing decent work? Do you want your practice to be recognized and widely disseminated?

This is your opportunity! The ILO Youth Employment Programme is launching a call for submissions of good practices that have proven effective in promoting decent work for young people.

All applications will be assessed based on 6 specific criteria: (i) relevance, (ii) effectiveness and impact, (iii) sustainability, (iv) innovation, (v) replicability, (vi) efficiency. An evaluation committee composed of experts and young specialists on youth employment will identify the good practices from the programmes submitted. The best submission will receive prizes and three of them will be featured in an MTV video.

The deadline to submit proposals is the 5th October 2013.

For more information visit:


Health for the world’s adolescents

Why is health important? What do you do to stay healthy? What health issues are you and your friends concerned about? Have you been affected by ill health? How? We want to know – your voices matter!

Are you aged between 10-19 years? Or you are a health worker working with adolescents? We want to hear from you!

The World Health Organization (WHO) is developing a report called “Health for the World’s Adolescents”. The report will look at the health and development of adolescents, present summaries of what is known about adolescent health—including what promotes or undermines their health—and how communities and countries meet adolescents’ health needs.

Please visit our web page

And give us your input! You can:

•Take a survey

•Enter a photo competition

•Send us your story

•Get creative! (Send in poems, drawings, songs etc)


Google+ Hangout on International Youth Day 2013

On the occasion of International Youth Day 2013, with its theme of ‘Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward,’ IOM will organize a Google+ Hangout on 12 August. The aim is to exchange views on this topic, to present the main opportunities and challenges for young migrants in different regions, and to provide a global audience with the opportunity to interact with IOM experts from all parts of the world. With the assistance of IOM offices worldwide, IOM’s Office of the Permanent Observer to the UN, located in New York, will host the interactive Google+ Hangout.

This online event will be an occasion to exchange views on youth migration, present the opportunities and challenges facing young migrants in different regions, and provide interaction between IOM experts and a global audience.

To involve as many people as possible, we will host the event on 12 August 2013 at 9.00 am NY time / 3.00 pm Geneva time. It will last one hour. Whether you join the hangout individually, or use this event as a means to organize something bigger in your respective offices, this is an easy way to actively participate in International Youth Day.

Should you have any questions about the event, please contact Evelien Borgman ( or Kevin Ritchie (

More information:

Youth employment network

International Youth Day 2013

August 12th is International Youth Day, and The Youth Employment Network (YEN) is celebrating with a contest to highlight the accomplishments of young people around the world. To enter, just go to our forum and tell us what was your greatest accomplishment this year. You can enter once per day. Every day we'll pick one of the entries to feature on our website's home page, and on International Youth Day, we will do a random draw of all the featured youth and the winner will get a prize package, including a smart phone!

To enter, visit


Volunteering for post-2015

The post-2015 agenda offers a historic opportunity for United Nations Volunteers (UNV) to advocate for volunteerism and the values it stands for, as an inherent component of any future global development framework. UNV deployed more than 30 UN Volunteers to support the national consultations and contribute to the outreach and engagement of civil society. They will continue to bring grass-roots and local initiatives closer to national level fora after the consultations in the lead up to the inter-governmental negotiations after the September 2013 High Level Event at the General Assembly. Among these dedicated volunteers, 15 Youth Volunteers are working on leveraging youth voices in the post-2015 agenda in Algeria, Bangladesh, Bosnia Herzegovina,  Cambodia, Cote d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste. They supported the national consultations, and engage in the roll out of the MY World survey, both online and offline, collecting thousands of votes.

To find out more, follow the newsletter “Volunteering for post-2015” or write to


Youth organizations form a pact for social transformation in the AIDS response

In May 2013, UNAIDS held a meeting, Youth and UNAIDS: a pact for social transformation, which brought together 12 global and regional HIV-related youth organizations and the recently established UNAIDS Youth Advisory Forum. The aim was to strategize on a clear direction to move forward on AIDS responses toward young people.  The main outcome was a pact outlining five key priorities where youth organizations could make tangible impact towards the goals of the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS. These priorities included: (1) integrating HIV services into sexual and reproductive health services; (2) removing punitive laws that impede access to HIV-related services for young people and young key populations; (3) scaling up treatment and prevention; (4) using resources effectively; and (5) ensuring that HIV remains a priority in the Post-2015 development framework.

Key priorities for the new UNAIDS youth programme is to increase its support in collaboration on strategic direction of youth movements in AIDs response.

For more information

UNO Almaty

Kazakh Students Embark on a Scientific Expedition

From 150 to 300 students are participating in a unique project that includes an information component "Letter to the village", dedicated to the issues of rural life and dialogue between people living in the cities and those in the countryside of Kazakhstan. Additionally, rural youth are asked to share comments and expectations on “Kazakhstan after 2015”, the Millennium Development Goals and the “post 2015” agenda.


Nothing for Youth without Youth

Ahmad Alhendawi, the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy on Youth , made his first visit to Brussels (Belgium) from 26 to 29 June. While in Brussels, the UNRIC team followed him and produced a video to raise awareness of his daily work. As a keynote speaker at the debate “The MDGs after the MDGs....will young people be involved after 2015?” organised by the European Youth Forum at the European Parliament, he reflected on the role of Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Mr. Alhendawi ended his mission with a visit to the Brussels multicultural music festival Couleur Café, supported by the European Commission (EC). Listening to the music and participating in the live acts at the Move Stage offered a perfect opportunity for Mr. Alhendawi to witness first-hand how the EC also brought a message of solidarity and sustainability as part of the EU initiative 'Youth on the Move'.

International Youth Day 2013: Updates from DESA map of events

International Youth Day is an opportunity for youth, youth organizations and others to organize events on themes relevant to respective youth.  Currently, events are taking place around the world addressing issues like health, integration of youth in the political sphere, and most importantly, youth participation through dialogues to have youth voices heard by policy makers. 

As this year’s theme is ‘youth migration’ several organizations has taken up this opportunity to raise awareness of this issue.  Many of the organizations will host public meetings with local Government officials to discuss the risks and benefits of youth migration while focusing on innovative ways of providing resources to address the issues related to increasing youth migrants. 

Inform us about your activity at

Disclaimer: Reference herein to any organization, view, or event is intended for explicit description only and does not constitute or imply endorsement or recommendation by the United Nations, or anyone else.

Youth Resolution: Education We Want

On Malala Day, UN youth Assembly, participated by more than 500 young leaders around the world, developed and passed a resolution entitled “The Education We Want”

The resolution called upon world leaders, governments, civil society and the global community to take decisive action on education now or the results will be devastating: the largest generation of young people in human history will be exposed to unemployment, poor health, civil unrest and increased vulnerability.

Full resolution can be found here:


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