Pursuing professional goals: UNDP launches a series of youth empowerment talks

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Honiara, Solomon Islands, July 5 – Around 20 young people were part of the Youth Empowerment Talk organized by the UN Development Programme in Solomon Islands at the youth co-working space IumiWaka. This was the first of the YEP Talks series which aim to serve as an opportunity for Solomon Islands youth to improve their leadership skills and exchange best practices in career development with prominent people.

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Among the first speakers who had an opportunity to share their careers’ realities, successes and challenges were H.E. Brian Jones, British High Commissioner to Solomon Islands and Nauru, Dr Shilu Adhikari, UNFPA Country Lead and Ms Cedella Nongebatu, Leading Actress at the DreamCast.

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Addressing the audience, H.E Brian Jones, British High Commissioner to Solomon Islands and Nauru, highlighted the importance of staying committed to the things and ideas young people believe in, “Always have your confidence. Hold your beliefs and your ideas strongly and stick to them.”

Speaking about youth participation in decision-making, H.E Brian Jones further said, “It is essential that young people exercise their right to democratic participation and have their voice heard on decisions that will shape their present and future.”

“If you have an issue in your community you want to address, look for the right way to do that. Use and share democracy, raise awareness and advocate for something to be addressed,” H.E Brian Jones concluded.

Sharing the same sentiments, Dr Shilu Adhikari, UNFPA Country Lead, stressed how important it is to young people and support their career choices, “We [young people] represent half of the world’s population, and we deserve equal opportunities. Connections like these help young people not only in their careers but in every aspect of their lives.”

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Dr Adhikari paid special attention and called to empower young women, “Women are key drivers of innovation growth and jobs, especially young women. I have been fortunate to meet some incredible women in my career who served as mentors and shared their experiences throughout the years. People like this help you pave the way and create a better space for young women and men.”

Ms. Cedella Nongebatu, Leading Actress at the DreamCast, also stressed the importance of supporting young people, especially young women, “As the youngest in this panel, I feel the need to emphasize the importance of self-belief. Never question your actions. Stand for your beliefs, even if the destination you see is different from what people see.”

“After graduating from school, we are expected to choose our life path. Wherever I go, I hear that people do not work in their specialty. Yet, the knowledge and skills acquired at the university serve as a basis for each beginning. This always helps you climb the mountain, no matter what position you hold,” said Ms Nongebatu. 

The first YEP Talk was followed by a Q & A session where young people who were physically present at the event and those who were joining the Talk online could ask questions and communicate with the panelists.

With the 2030 Agenda as a guiding thread, UNDP works to advance young people’s civic and political life, economic empowerment, and role as peace- and resilience-builders.

A series of Youth Empowerment Talk is launched by the Empowering Youth as Agents for Peace and Social Cohesion in the Solomon Islands Project which is being implemented by UNDP Solomon Islands with the financial support of the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund.

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet. Learn more at www.pacific.undp.org or follow us on social at @UNDP_Pacific and @undpsolomon.

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