Youth Involvement with Disarmament
Inspired largely by the United Nations’ (UN) launch of the ‘Youth4Disarmament’ initiative this past year out of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), Penn Policy Consulting’s Global Affairs team focused on the issue of disarmament this semester. After spending the first part of the semester conducting research on the issue, the team crafted a five-page memo divided into three sections: previous progress on disarmament and current challenges; the effects of armed conflict and weapon proliferation on youth; and youth involvement in disarmament. Global Affairs’ analysis highlighted not only the need for agencies such as the UN to simplify language surrounding the issue of disarmament, but more importantly the need for these organizations to make greater strides in youth engagement on this topic at large, in order to gain more from their unique perspective.
The Global Affairs team attended six meetings in New York City in late November in order to discuss the current state of disarmament in global affairs. Five of these meetings were with representatives from UN Missions - Nepal, Austria, Poland, Russia, and the Philippines - during which the team was able to first present on the disarmament memo and then discuss the future of disarmament progress, with specific attention to the potential role that youth can play. By meeting with a unique array of states, the team was able to gain a greater understanding of the wide variety of perspectives held and actions being taken related to disarmament on the global stage in order to develop more targeted policy solutions.
The sixth meeting was with experts at the UNODA, where our team was able to learn more about the current state of disarmament as well as the future goals for the ‘Youth4Disarmament’ initiative. From this conversation, the PPC Global Affairs team learned how they could improve the factsheet for future iterations, as well as better engage with agencies such as the UNODA as a youth voice on the issue of disarmament.