“Children and young people must be involved in all processes relevant to children and young people. In short, that's virtually all processes”, says Åshild Marie Vige.
Together with Andreas Skjæret, she is Norway’s official youth representative in the Norwegian delegation to the UN General Assembly.
“We have a duplex agenda here. Our mission is to be the voice of children and youth. But we also learn more about how the UN system works and bring back information to our organizations in Norway”, says Åshild Marie Vige (24).
Åshild Marie Vige is Director of the Norwegian organization Queer Youth, and Andreas Skjæret is Deputy Chairman of The Young Liberals of Norway (Unge Venstre). The official Norwegian youth delegates to the UN are appointed through a nomination process. One is chosen from the political arena and the other from youth organizations.
The two will present a speech on behalf of Norwegian youth Monday 8 October. The main topic of the post is rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people (LGBT) and education.
“The speech reflects our own power to define what we wanted to address in the United Nations, as the main focus is both liberal and queer oriented. But it is important to stay within official Norwegian policy and reflect what Norwegian children and young people think. It must fit several categories”, says Andreas Skjæret (21).
In addition, they will be active in meetings, discussions and daily work at the Norwegian Mission to the UN. The schedule includes meetings with Charles Radcliffe, special adviser for Human Rights, and Boris Dietrich, who is LGBT adviser at Human Rights Watch.
Both Skjæret and Vige are grateful to be Norway’s official youth representatives, and are looking forward to two exiting weeks in the United Nations. They mention their three minute-speech in the third committee as key, but meeting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is at their peak of expectations.
“We are not sure what to expect, but we are really excited. A must is to get a picture with Mr. Ban Ki-moon”, says Åshild Marie Vige.
The two delegates will share everything they see and learn with children and youth in Norway. Both Vige and Skjæret are active on Twitter, and will report back to The Norwegian Children and Youth Council, and the The United Nations Association of Norway after their stay in New York.
Read the official Norwegian youth delegates speech here.
See pictures of the Youth Delegates in action on NorwayUN on Flickr.