Two outstanding young Saint Lucians, in the persons of Rahym Augustin-Joseph from Castries and Lee Ann Edgar from Choiseul, are representing Saint Lucia at the 8th Annual Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Forum spans the dates April 8- 2019. Rahym, a member of the Saint Lucia debate team for the past two years, currently serves as the President of the Student Council of the Division of Arts, Science and General Studies at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College. Lee Ann is a teacher at the Choiseul Secondary School and a youth leader in the community of Choiseul.
The ECOSOC Youth Forum takes place at a critical point in time as the world is working to address the disadvantages of the current trends in globalization, which are not sufficiently sustainable or inclusive. The Forum will address the theme, “Empowered, Included and Equal”, which is aligned with the theme of ECOSOC and the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality” in 2019. It will also review progress in the areas of quality education (SDG4), decent work and economic growth (SDG8), reduced inequalities (SDG10), climate action (SDG13), peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG16), and partnerships for the goals (SDG17).
Rahym and Lee Ann will join youth leaders from across the world to add their voices to the discussions at the Forum. Both youth leaders are looking to learn as much as they can and are excited about sharing the knowledge gained with the youth of Saint Lucia upon their return.
“I am hoping to gain actionable insight into what issues the region in particular faces in connection with the SDGs for Youth2030, and on how to overcome these issues,” Le Ann stated. Rahym was hopeful that the conference would shed light on ‘how exactly we achieve empowerment as for us in Saint Lucia because of our historical background we know that disempowerment and marginalisation is deep seated in our psyche’.
“Even more so there is not enough importance placed on the issues of youth,” he said. “Last year’s Forum was focused on growing resilience for youth in the face of global challenges but this year it is concerned with the empowerment of youth to deal with these issues. On reflection of this forum I believe it is interwoven with our 40th independence theme which is ‘All in Our Journey, Our Future’. I would like to believe that the All is inclusive of our youth.’’
They will be accompanied by Youth Director Mary Wilfred.
Saint Lucia was represented at this Forum by Zia Barnard in 2018, who has since gone on to become the Chairperson of the SLNYC Youth Ambassadors Network and by Raejean Montoute in 2017, who has since gone on to become General Secretary of the Saint Lucia National Youth Council.
As we continue to celebrate the excellence of young people during Youth Month, we wish this dynamic duo all the best at the Forum!