Young Leaders Speak at United Nations Headquarters

By Jaimenys A. Taveras, Student Trainee ACF Region 2

As I walked towards the International Young Leaders Assembly (IYLA) event at the United Nations (UN) on a hot and humid summer morning, it came as a shock that, despite being a native New Yorker, I had never visited the UN. As I approached the entrance of the building, I looked up in admiration at the building where I would soon be listening to many inspirational presentations.

On Tuesday, August 18, 2015, the UN Global Peace Foundation held its annual International Young Leaders Assembly. The event was the finale of the 10-day IYLA program themed "Moral and Innovative Leadership: Vision, Service and Entrepreneurship.” Over 1300 attendees from 100 different nations attended the IYLA and part of that success was due to ACF Region 2 strong effort in promoting the event.

The IYLA’s mission is to inspire young leaders to tap into their passions, encourage them to dream big and not settle for just being good, but to being the best they can be. ACF Region 2 was one of the attendees and happily shared this amazing experience with the Shinnecock Indian Nation Tribe. There were seven youth leaders from the Shinnecock Youth Council accompanied by their Tribal Chairman, Bryan Polite. According to Alan Inman, President of the Global Peace Foundation, this was the first tribe to ever attend the IYLA event. The Tribe found the event very inspirational to the youth and the adults and took advantage of this opportunity to connect with other cultures and show their youth group that there is more out there than the “rez” as they like to call themselves.

My personal experience of the IYLA was also very inspirational and after listening to the presentations, I was ready to conquer the world! So many thoughts and plans came to mind as to what I was going to do to make an impact in the world. My goal is to be a positive influence for children and families who don’t have the resources, guidance, support and knowledge in living healthier lives.

ACF has taken leadership in providing children, youth, families, individuals, and communities with a more resilient, safe, healthy, and economically secure community. The world needs more leaders who care and are passionate about the work that they do and have great desire in bringing about positive change in our community. It is my belief that if we want to see positive change, we must first begin by changing ourselves. As Jim Flynn, International President of the Global Peace Foundation informed the young leaders, “Tap your entrepreneurial and innovative spirit to dream big and act big – to build a world free of conflict and corruption, free of poverty and disease, and filled with opportunity and well-being for every member of the global human family.” We need to be the change we want to see in the world… our world.

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