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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2963

Sri Lankan Youth Delegates attend the UN General Assembly, Meets Ban Ki Moon

New York, 08 November, (

Ms. Mahishaa Balraj and Mr. Senel Wanniarachchi, Sri Lanka’s Official Youth Delegates to the United Nations for the year 2014, attended the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Selected by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development of Sri Lanka Ms. Balraj and Mr. Wanniarachchi were officially mandated to represent the children and youth of Sri Lanka in the national delegation to the UN General Assembly led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The Youth Delegates addressed the 3rd Committee of the General Assembly highlighting the importance of youth engagement at high-level decision-making. In order to obtain input for this important statement the youth delegates held consultations prior to their visit to New York covering various areas of Sri Lanka including Matara, Vavuniya, Trincomalee and Colombo.

Addressing the General Assembly Ms. Balraj shed light on the efforts taken by Sri Lanka in formalizing technical and vocational training and other opportunities for skills development. She said ‘My earnest request is that we face our global challenges by connecting the experience and resources of our nations with the energy and ideals of youth. Let our global challenges not be a dream deferred due to lack of action.’

Mr. Waniarachchi spoke about the role of young men and boys in addressing gender based violence adding that it should no longer be a problem only for girls and women. He added ‘The young people of Sri Lanka are emerging from a war that was fought for far too long. We understand the power we have to change our lives and change the world.

We are a resilient people, and we are determined to take our energy, innovation, creativity, and ambitious idealism to strive to find solutions to our common problems.’

The Sri Lankan Youth Delegates also hosted a side event on the importance of recognizing skills development as an integral part of education, employment and youth policies of countries around the world. The Youth Delegates from the Netherlands and Georgia co-hosted the event with Sri Lanka. The event was very well attended by high-level officials from the United Nations, representatives of other civil society organizations and young people from the world over.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also called on the Youth Delegates. The Secretary General informed the youth delegates that participation in decision-making is one of the key priority areas of the United Nations agenda on youth.

The National Youth Services Council of Sri Lanka initiated the ‘Sri Lanka’s Official Youth Delegates to the United Nations” programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development & the Ministry of External Affairs in 2012.

- Asian Tribune -

 Mahishaa Balraj with Secretary General  Ban Ki-moon
Senel Wanniarachchi with Secretary General  Ban Ki-moon
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