UNA-USA Youth Human Rights Activists Attend Geneva Training

UNA-USA student leaders, Stephanie Evangelista, Jarrett Fisher, and Alyssa Orozco, reflect on their experiences at this year’s WFUNA Human Rights Training in Geneva and what makes a good leader.

Stephanie Evangelista: Why We Were There

Myself, and two other UNA-USA youth leaders recently had the honor of attending the 2019 Human Rights In Action Training that took place at the UN Geneva Headquarters. The purpose of this training is to educate and encourage passionate young people to act on behalf of human rights. I learned so much about the guest speakers and how they became involved with human rights, but I also learned so much from my fellow delegates attending the training. It was an amazing experience learning about their passions, the issues in their countries, and their determination to act on behalf of human rights.

What I took from this training was that I am capable of being an agent of change. I was raised in South Central Los Angeles, and I always admired those individuals who were able to not only be agents of change, but who also inspired others. I remember a speaker from the training telling us that although we cannot change the world itself, we have the power of changing an individual, and changing a habit. In doing so, that individual can change another individual, and so on. That is how we ultimately create lasting change.

Jarrett Fisher: What We Learned

During the training, certified volunteers from the Project Management Institute taught us the project management life cycle. Thijs Wijnands led the Thursday morning training. Mr. Wijnands has worked at CERN for 21 years! He taught us that Project Management is all about the 3 D’s: Diagnose, Define, and Decide.

Diagnose needs, problems, opportunities, and means.

Define objectives, processes, roles, and results.

Decide actions, assignment, delegation, and validation.

We then discussed qualities of a successful project leader. Mr. Wijnands asserted that “leaders focus on the horizon.” Some of the other qualities we discussed included being optimistic, managing relationships and conflict, exhibiting integrity, giving credit to others, and genuinely being a lifelong learner.

Alyssa Orozco: What We’ll Take Away

I went to Geneva with absolutely no expectations as to what the next week of my life would consist of. For a week, I was immersed in all the incredible work the United Nations does to uphold human rights and left tremendously inspired by the potential of my own project.

Incredibly passionate and strong-willed individuals encompass what makes UNA-USA student leaders so remarkable. I encourage UNA-USA student leaders to apply for this program. If you were to expect anything from this program, expect to leave a better person with new-found insights and wisdom from your peers who will accompany you from all across the globe. Build those connections here and now and bond with others who share your same charisma to make the world a kinder place. In return, your project will be better because of it as it will intuitively reflect what human rights are all about: honoring one another and their space to exist.