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ESCWA Chief announces launch of ‘Young ESCWA’ to drive positive change

Beirut, Lebanon

Beirut, 15 April 2019 (ESCWA)--The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Ms. Rola Dashti, has launched the Young ESCWA network which will empower junior staff to provide advice to her on how to foster innovation in the Commission and drive positive change in the Arab region.
Ms. Dashti announced the launch of Young ESCWA on 9 April 2019 during the Arab Forum on Sustainable Development (AFSD), held in Beirut in partnership with the League of Arab States (LAS). Dashti’s announcement was made in the presence of high-level diplomatic and ministerial delegates, including UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, LAS Secretary-General Ahmad Aboul Gheit, former minister Inaya Ezzeddine representing Lebanese House Speaker Nabih Berri, and Parliament Member Bahia Hariri representing Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
In her statement, Dashti said: “Young people are our opportunity for renewal. I am pleased to announce that we recently established Young ESCWA. Our vision is to involve young people in internal reforms, aimed at revitalizing ESCWA, updating its working methods, and increasing its effectiveness and efficiency to make it fit for purpose. ESCWA is striving to be a modern, flexible, youthful and reinvigorated institution, which keeps step with rapid developments.”
As a network of more than 20 young staff members, Young ESCWA will be a channel to share the views of junior staff on how to drive innovation and positive change within the Commission, on the model of the global Young UN network. Young ESCWA will also be an incubator for innovative solutions to improve the lives of the populations of the Arab States, including its youth.
“Through the launch of Young ESCWA, Dashti is setting a great example for other UN organizations and ESCWA member states to tap the power of youth,” Nathalie Khaled, a Young ESCWA member, said.
She added: “It is time that the energy, brains, imagination and talent of young people are utilized to tackle all the challenges that our societies are going through. We are honoured by Ms. Dashti’s empowering initiative, which will bring an influx of energy for ESCWA to drive positive change in the region. Junior staff need to feel that their voice is valued and that they have an impact on decision-making. ESCWA will benefit from the fresh perspective, optimism, and enthusiasm youth can bring to the table.”
For his part, David Krivanek, another member of Young ESCWA noted: “We are grateful for Ms. Dashti’s confidence in the young staff members of ESCWA. Through this initiative, the UN is sending a strong message that young people should be empowered and listened to, not only at ESCWA but also in its member States.”
He added: “Our main objective is to act as agents for change within the organization and propose fresh ideas on how ESCWA can respond to the aspirations and needs of the populations of the region, including its youth.”
ESCWA is the first UN regional commission to officialize the role of the Young UN network in the organization. Members of Young ESCWA have started to interact with all divisions and sections of the Commission to provide help with a youth perspective.


For more information:
-Nabil Abu-Dargham, Head, ESCWA Communication and Information Unit,
-Ms Rania Harb, Public Information Assistant, +961-70-008-879; email: