Teens took over the United Nations for a special youth assembly. They discussed global issues that they want resolved before they graduate from college. NY1's Cheryl Wills reports.
"Young people matter. We matter because we are the shapers and we are the leaders of the global future," said one young woman. She is among a group of teens from all over the world who converged on the United Nations during the first week of August for the 14th Youth Assembly.
Eighteen-year-old student ambassadors like Ayyan Zubair say teens have a lot to say about the world they live in.
"I think the main issue is female education, because the daughters of today are the mothers of tomorrow," said Zubair.
The Youth Assembly, which is sponsored by the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, organizes workshops, panels, training sessions and dialogues with high-level UN officials. And, they try to keep it real.
"We've called this session 'no half steppin' because I was looking through some New York City slang, and I saw that no half steppin' refers to you can't go half way when you really truly believe in something," said Patrick Sciarratta, Executive Director of the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation.
"I would rank climate change, and I would connect it to peace and security, particularly for women and girls. That's the number one issue at the moment that has to be tackled by the United Nations," said Youth Assembly participant Hadia Sheerazi.
In September, Pope Francis will be at the United Nations, and students at the Youth Assembly say they will be paying very close attention to what the pontiff has to say.
"I think he has a strong voice, and if he takes a strong stance on climate change, I think he can truly influence not only the Catholic population of the world but the entire population of the world," said Benjamin Schafer, a student ambassador.
Student ambassadors say the three-day event teaches them how to think outside the box. They argue that the world needs fresh thinkers now more than ever before.
To learn more about Youth Assembly at the UN, please visit www.faf.org.