Guest Blog: Andres Pena, TeachSummit International

gyg-logo-teal-transparent1Andres Pena was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and is currently a senior at Pitzer College, where he is majoring in International Political Economy and pursuing a minor in Italian Studies. He is involved in various community organizations, enjoys advocating for youth participation and leadership across the world, and plans to become an international lawyer one day. He currently serves as the Linguistic and Cultural Advisor for TeachSummit International. He can be reached by email.

Andres at the conference

Youth 21 Conference on Inclusive Governance

Nairobi, Kenya: The Youth 21 Conference that I attended brought together many youth representatives (delegates) from all UN Member-States, where we provided specific recommendations to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on his appointment for a Special Advisor on Youth. I would have never imagined myself being part of an enormous organization that supports the ideas of youth inclusiveness in governance, NGO’s international support, sustainable development, education, poverty eradication, and environmental justice. This event also served as a networking opportunity for me, and thus I got connected with other NGO’s that were represented by wonderful youth who shared similar interests as me.

As an executive member of TeachSummit International, I was able to share our project’s purpose in order to connect ideas and share information on how the project can benefit a wider-range community, the world. I was mostly excited when I joined various committees and parallel sessions during the conference, which were based around the idea of Youth Leadership and Challenges in Entrepreneurship, Employment and Community Development. After sitting-in numerous sessions, I was able to conclude that both governments and societies must increase the level of awareness and knowledge about the situation of marginalized youth and their contributions to society, especially by integrating human rights principles in the process and standards of policy content. TeachSummit’s mission goes hand-in-hand with these factors, as youth will be playing an enormous role in the decision-making process, in the collaboration with other programs, and in the process of creating a curriculum for the schools that we will be working with.

Overall, I came to realize that today’s youth are volunteering their time and skills not only to assist their local communities but also to build social networks, develop confidence and relevant experience which could potentially enhance their career opportunities.