Fearless Mobilizers: Youth Power Unleashed

Moufeeda Haidar shares her account of participating in the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women and the  ICPD30(International Conference on Population and Development)  Global Youth Dialogue, highlighting the power and impact of youth activism on global stages. It contrasts the expressions of solidarity for Palestine and activism in the U.S. against the backdrop of more formal UN engagements, underscoring young people’s role as catalysts for change in advocating for human rights and justice.

Participation at Commission on the Status of Women

Over the past few months, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to immerse myself in two significant events. I participated in the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) as one of the 20 NGO CSW Global Youth Fellows for Gender Equality. I accompanied young women within the We Lead program to ensure their effective participation in the capacity of Senior Youth Collective Coordinator at Restless Development. As a young fellow from We Lead, I spoke on several platforms, including the consultation day for the 68th session and the Youth Debrief. I also participated in the ICPD30 Global Youth Dialogue alongside two young fellows from the We Lead program from Lebanon and Honduras.

Reflection on Global Youth Dialogue

Reflecting on these experiences, I was astounded by the striking differences and meaningful lessons I learned. The Global Youth Dialogue was a powerhouse of energy and determination. Even though the pressing issue of attacks on Gaza wasn’t formally addressed on stage, the youth’s passion and solidarity were evident. Young people in the crowd boldly stood up, chanting “Free Palestine,” waving flags, and expressing unwavering support for the Palestinian cause. This spontaneous solidarity was a testament to their fearless advocacy and mobilisation.

Moufeeda Haidar speaks at the IPCD 20 in the microphone

As opposed to this, the environment at CSW68 seemed idealised, detached from the reality of what is happening across the world – to women and marginalised groups. There were, nevertheless, instances of true activism. Young people organised and led protests during CSW68, which led to activism outside the UN headquarters demanding a ceasefire in Gaza. I took advantage of the youth debrief to demand a ceasefire in Gaza, although the encouragement I received was more subdued. This contrast between CSW and ICPD30 Youth Dialogue drew my attention to the diverse ways activism manifests within various platforms.

Youth involvement

The sheer impact and revolutionary power of youth activism should always be considered and lauded. Across universities all across the globe, young people are protesting daily, risking their futures and careers for causes they passionately believe in. These young people are fearless, strong, and powerful mobilisers, challenging injustices and advocating for human rights. Their dedication is a reminder of an essential truth: human rights are non-negotiable.

A group of women in a team work

These experiences have reaffirmed my belief in the extraordinary ability of youth as catalysts for change. Through loud, public demonstrations or quieter, strategic engagements, young people worldwide are reshaping the future with their relentless energy, unwavering enthusiasm, and dedication. They remind us that fighting for justice and human rights is a continuous, collective endeavour.

Author

  • Moufeeda Haidar

    Moufeeda Haidar is a passionate advocate for gender equality and social inclusion with over 8 years of experience. Currently, she leads the MENA region's Youth Collective at Restless Development, focusing on sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) within the We Lead program. Moufeeda's expertise extends beyond her current role. Previously, she served as the Lead Gender Integration Specialist at the Lebanese American University's Arab Institute for Women (AiW). She has also provided consultancy services to international organizations and UN agencies. A recognized leader, Moufeeda has participated as a panelist and moderator in various UN and international conferences. In 2023, she was named one of the 20 NGO CSW Global Youth Fellows for Gender Equality. Additionally, she served on the board and chaired the Sweden Alumni Network in Lebanon. Moufeeda holds a Bachelor's degree in Law from the Lebanese University and a Master's degree in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies from LAU.

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Fearless Mobilizers: Youth Power Unleashed

by Ayoub Mbumila Reading time: 2 min
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