Unlock the Future

Sep 23, 2021

“We need our leaders to put on their big boy pants…”

Hilda Nakabuye, the founder of Fridays for Future Uganda pulled no punches at the virtual Unlock the Future event, co-hosted by the Next Generation Fellows to coincide with the 76th United Nations General Assembly.

You can read a full summary of the event here.

An audience of over 500 people from more than 150 countries heard a series of challenging and motivational perspectives, from speakers who were united in their conviction that the needs of young people and future generations must be at the top of the agenda for global leaders in the years ahead. 

The Next Generation Fellows spoke alongside leaders and activists of all ages, including Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden; Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica; Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth; Professor Muhammad Yunus; and UNICEF goodwill ambassadors Pita Taufatofua and Muzoon Almellehan.

Three- time Olympian Pita Taufatofua opened proceedings by cautioning those working towards a better future that “there are going to be times where it’s going to be tough. Where it’s going to feel like it’s an uphill battle”. But he urged them to ‘keep fighting’ as ‘[young people] are our future’.

And the event closed with the launch of the Unlock Declaration, which marked the coming together of over a dozen major youth-led and youth-focused organizations in a shared statement of intent for the years ahead. Secretary General of the YMCA, Carlos Sanvee shared the four guiding principles of the declaration, which promises to be a platform for advocacy and change that improves the lives of next and future generations in the years ahead.  The Unlock the Future event was supported by BRAC, the Global Youth Mobilization – an initiative powered by the Big Six youth organizations, Restless Development and the Youth Collective, the Global Shapers Community (an initiative of the World Economic Forum), the United Nations Foundation, and Girl Up.

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