I was in high school when I first realized that I was never allowed to participate in decision making processes.
I noticed that some things in the education system didn’t work for me, but I was never asked what would work better, and so everything remained as it was. Apparently, the adults figured that they knew what was right, without considering listening to us. But why wouldn’t young people’s voices matter?
It is definitely not my intention to set up young and older people against each other. Quite the opposite in fact. Everybody’s voice is important, because we can only solve problems together. Every generation can bring a different perspective to the table. For instance, young people can come up with ideas that an older person wouldn’t think of. The world is changing rapidly, among others due to the strong development of digital resources. Especially young people are very adept in using those to manifest themselves. I already feel that I can’t completely relate to the generation after me, so can you imagine what that’s like for older generations. That’s why young people’s input is so valuable.
Almost one and a half year ago I was elected as one of the Youth Representatives for the Dutch National Youth Council. I get to be their spokesperson at the United Nations. That is important, because ultimately, everything that is decided in the UN is either directly or indirectly about us.
Sometimes I get mixed feelings about the fact that as a Youth Representative, I can participate, but I don’t have decision power. What I’m essentially doing, together with other young people, is banging on a door. Sometimes, it is still very necessary that someone opens that door. If that happens, I can make sure that the door opens completely. In that way, I can not only serve my own generation, but also future generations.
Manal Moussane (22) is a student and Youth Representative Human Rights and Safety at the UN.
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