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Eight young professionals begin inaugural fellowship created by PGA Shahid at UN

PTI

United Nations, January 12

Eight young professionals from Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean arrived at the world organisation here to begin a nine-month immersive experience in General Assembly affairs and multilateralism, the inaugural cohort of a unique fellowship created by President of the 76th session of the General Assembly Abdulla Shahid.

Javier DM Spencer (Antigua and Barbuda), Jigme Wangmo (Bhutan), Diedra Sealey (Grenada), Mohamed Fofana (Guinea), Mahathilath Phongsavath (Lao People's Democratic Republic), Jaala Jeremiah (Nauru), Kamukama Stella (Uganda) and Margaret Tatenda Chikawa (Zimbabwe) were selected by an independent three-member selection panel for the ‘Harnessing Opportunities for Promoting Empowerment of Youth' Fellowship (PGA's Fellowship for HOPE).

“It is imperative that we involve young people in what we do, and I am very proud of my Fellowship for HOPE,” Shahid has said.

“As a small islander who has seen and experienced the struggles of so many countries in keeping up with the rest of the world on the diplomatic stage, I know they will walk away with knowledge and skills to support their nations as true multilateralists,” he said.

The group arrived at the UN headquarters Monday to begin their nine-month fellowship that will last until the end of the 76th session in September 2022.

They toured the UN Headquarters for the first time, visiting the General Assembly Hall.

“I used to listen to every single speech when Uganda had the Presidency [from 2014 to 2015]. I cannot believe that I'm here,” Stella said.

Shahid's Chef de Cabinet Ambassador Nagaraj Naidu Kakanur said the programme has been made possible by all the Member States.

“It is their contributions. They will be looking up to you. You have a responsibility to the 193 Member States.” “We hope to make this journey for each one of you very exciting. And we're excited, too, because all of us would have liked to be part of such a programme,” Naidu said.

On the way out of the General Assembly Hall, the Fellows searched around for their country's flags.

The group listened as it was explained that the decision of who sits in the first seat in the Hall is decided at random, with the rest of the seating in alphabetical order.

The individuals – all except one of whom have never been to New York – were selected for the Fellowship created by Shahid for under-represented Member States.

The Fellows will be attached on a rotation basis with the teams in the Office of the President of the General Assembly (OPGA) – Peace & Security, Human Rights, Humanitarian, Sustainable Development, Reform, Legal & Budget and Communications.

Through their work in the Office of the PGA, the Fellows will gain knowledge and understanding of the United Nations system, ranging from the Secretariat to United Nations funds and programmes, specialised agencies, and other entities and bodies.

The PGA's Fellowship for HOPE developed in partnership with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) will allow the Fellows to garner a deeper understanding of issues relevant to the world today, from climate change to COVID-19, from peace and security, to human rights and gender equality.

All costs associated with relocation, housing and work will be covered by the Member State-funded Fellowship Programme.

In selecting the fellows, the independent panel made its decision based on an agreed upon criteria, balancing gender and regional representation.

Preference was given to young diplomats and civil servants from underrepresented countries, particularly from the least developed countries, the landlocked developing countries and small island developing states.

Tribune Shorts


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