Student leaders work together for change at the United Nations in Bangkok

25 September 2018

By Regina Mwangi

Regina Mwangi, one of our citizen reporters from Nairobi, Kenya, recently attended the United Nations Student Leaders Symposium, in Bangkok Thailand.

She was chosen as one of 1,000 outstanding individuals aged between 18 to 30, who have demonstrated leadership ability and a commitment to effecting positive change across the globe.

Regina at a UN event

I am a student at the United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya. I represent students with disabilities in the Student Council on campus.  I am also a citizen reporter for Leonard Cheshire’s 2030 and Counting project.  

The symposium is a week-long leadership development training program, bringing together the world’s most promising young leaders to learn from humanitarian speakers and life skills coaches through talks and interaction.

The symposium involved interactive discussion between the various guest speakers on various themes and student leaders from a total of 87 countries in the world.

The symposium also involved one day of service where we visited schools, slums and homes of the disabled persons to offer our services which included cleaning, painting, teaching English and cooking.

The aim of the symposium is to nurture young humanitarians across the world with an intention of raising servant leaders who will have the plight of humanity at heart in their leadership. I was surprised to find out that I was the only student leader in the conference with a disability.

The conference majorly addressed the place of the youths in moving towards achieving the Global Sustainable Development Goals. The students were encouraged to use whatever they have in starting projects that will positively impact their communities. 

The 2030 and Counting project and the Student Leader’s Symposium have a very close connection since they are both based on the Sustainable Development Goals and the role of the youth in achieving these goals.

However, they are different in that the 2030 and Counting project is more specific and unique in such a way that it is particularly concerned with matters related to disability and looking at the global goals in the lenses of disability inclusiveness unlike the leadership symposium that is generic in its approach of the SDGs.

My highlight from the conference was the networking with fellow student leaders from the various parts of the world.

It was exciting to meet and talk to people from countries that even in my wildest dreams I never thought I would meet. Am hoping to keep contact with those I interacted with and hopefully coalesce together in starting a project.

As soon as I get home I plan on sharing my experiences from the conference with my fellow students and the citizen reporters.

I have gained a wider understanding of issues affecting humanity and especially disability which will enrich my leadership role in both in the 2030 and counting project and at school.

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