The Activist Generation, the U.S., and the UN

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04:00 pm





While the pandemic has shown that borders are permeable and somewhat invisible, it has also emphasized that the challenges and solutions are incredibly interconnected. Join this special program in recognition of International Youth Day (August 12) to hear from Dustin Liu, the outgoing UNA-USA Youth Observer to the United Nations, and to meet the 10th UNA-USA Youth Observer to the United Nations, as they discuss the U.S. and UN’s priorities from the past year and moving forward.

To amplify the intersectional nature of the priorities of youth around the world, representatives from UN agencies and USAID will be invited to join the discussion. Takeaways will include priorities for the next year and specific opportunities for youth in America to take action and become involved in addressing global issues.


Featured Speakers:

Cynthia Yue, 2021-2022 UNA-USA Youth Observer to the United Nations

Cynthia is an honors student studying International Affairs at the George Washington University. As
a first-generation American raised in the Southeastern United States, Cynthia grew up witnessing inequality throughout her community and abroad, which led her to develop a commitment to global citizenship, human rights, and youth empowerment at an early age—a commitment that motivated her to serve as a lifelong advocate for the UN and its vital work.

Cynthia brings nearly seven years of experience as a leader at UNICEF USA and previously served on their National Council. She has interned in the U.S. Senate, U.S. Department of Transportation, and U.S. Small Business Administration. Previously, Cynthia served as a Fellow at the Embassy of France in the United States and the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia.

This year, Cynthia hopes to continue bridging the gap between youth and the UN by elevating young people’s voices, building community within the UNA-USA youth and student network, and supporting youth leaders across the United States.


Dustin Liu, 2020-2021 UNA-USA Youth Observer to the United Nations

Dustin (he/his) holds a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and recently received his Master’s in Education at the Harvard Education Graduate School of Education.

Dustin’s prior work experiences have been with organizations such as Breakthrough Collaborative and Matriculate in student-facing roles focused on education access as well as with organizations such as the Center for Collaborative Education and Ashoka where he worked to support the professional learning and network activation of educators in both K-12 and post-secondary settings. In addition, he has worked in the field of social innovation through his work at New Profit, a venture philanthropy firm as well as serving as the Graduate Assistant for Social Innovation at MIT. He currently leads a program that aims to bring global citizenship education to K-12 classrooms, an objective he hopes to continue through this role.

Dustin is the son of two Taiwanese immigrants who have long fostered in him the belief that individuals can inspire social change. He is interested in dialogue as a tool for social change and the potential to build educational pathways and experiences that allow humans to flourish. In his free time, Dustin is a certified Zumba instructor and loves to share his love for playing the cello in community with others.


Sophia Kianni, Founder & Executive Director of Climate Cardinals; UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change

Sophia Kianni is a 19 year old Iranian-American climate activist specializing in media and strategy. She is the founder and executive director of Climate Cardinals, an international nonprofit with 8,000 volunteers in 40+ countries working to translate climate information into 100+ languages. She represents the United States as the youngest member on the inaugural United Nations Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change. She is a Senior Partner at JUV Consulting, a Gen Z marketing agency. She also works as a climate advisor at the American Lung Association and sits on the board of directors at CommunityX.

Sophia’s work has been featured in news outlets including Forbes, CNN, Business Insider, TIME Magazine, The Guardian, NBC, and even on the front page of The Washington Post. She was previously a fellow with PBS NewsHour and has written for publications such as MTV News, BuzzFeed, Teen Vogue, Refinery 29, and Cosmopolitan. She is an adamant public speaker and has spoken to people around the world from Doha, Qatar to Cambridge, Massachusetts.

She has been named VICE Media’s youngest Human of the Year, selected as a National Geographic Young Explorer, and chosen for Energy News Network’s 40 under 40 list.


Chase Sova, Senior Director, Public Policy and Thought Leadership, WFP USA; Senior Associate, Center for Strategic and International Studies Global Food Security Program

Chase Sova is senior director of Public Policy and Thought Leadership at World Food Program USA (WFP USA) and Senior Associate (non-resident) with the Center for Strategic and International Studies Global Food Security Program. Previously, Chase worked with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). He has consulted with the World Bank, Johns Hopkins, and Tufts University. Interested in the intersection of food insecurity and conflict, humanitarian assistance, climate change, and sustainable agriculture, Chase has worked on food systems in 15 developing countries across Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. He has led several major research initiatives including WFP USA’s Winning the Peace: Hunger and Instability flagship report. Chase has served as an expert witness at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, his writing has been featured extensively in peer-reviewed journals, and he regularly lectures on food insecurity at Universities in Washington, D.C. He delivered a TEDx talk on “Winning the Long Game in the Fight to End Hunger” in 2018. Chase earned his Ph.D. from Oxford University.


Shubhi Sinha, UNICEF National Youth Council Member

Shubhi Sinha is a rising junior at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where she’s pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology with a certificate in Neuroscience. She’s a passionate advocate of health, gender, and education equity and hopes to pursue an M.D. to provide immigrants, underrepresented minorities, and disenfranchised communities here and abroad with access to quality and affordable care. In her free time, you can find her freelancing and teaching graphic design or learning new tools and technologies. Shubhi began volunteering with UNICEF six years ago by joining her high school UNICEF Club as a freshman, growing the club over four years, and serving twice on the National Council. She’s always excited to talk about all-things-UNICEF, creative stuff, or any new binge-worthy Netflix shows.


Megan Johnson, Public Diplomacy Officer, Office of Public Affairs, Planning, and Coordination (IO/PPC), Bureau of International Organizations

Megan joined the State Department in 2015 and has served in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Islamabad, Pakistan.  She joined the International Organizations Bureau in summer 2020. Prior to joining the State Department, Megan was in Tanzania, where she conducted her dissertation research on women’s access to education and then worked as a communication specialist at USAID. Megan’s background is in higher education policy and leadership studies. Outside of her professional life, Megan is a triathlete.