The first edition of the Young Activists Summit in Geneva awards six young women as drivers of progress

Local news, 10.12.2019

Promoting the image of young women and girls as drivers of progress, encouraging them to take action and fostering solidarity among girls and young people: these were the main aims of the Young Activists Summit that was held on 10 December 2019 in the symbolic Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations room at the "Palais des Nations" in Geneva. Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad as the guest of honour of this first edition.

December 2019
Nadia Mura, 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, guest of honour of the first Young Activists Summit © FDFA

Organized by the United Nations Office at Geneva, Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS) and NGO of media professionals, this event brought together six young female activists on Human Rights day.

Nadia Murad (26 years old, Iraq) was among thousands of Yazidi women who were abducted, raped, and enslaved by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS). After escaping, Nadia Murad alerted the international community to the plight of her people and founded Nadia’s Initiative, an organisation dedicated to reconstructing Sinjar and helping women and children victimised by genocide, mass atrocities and human trafficking. In 2016, she was appointed by the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking. In 2018 Nadia Murad was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts “to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict”.

Memory Banda (23 years old, Malawi) fights against early and forced marriages. She has helped change the attitudes of traditional leaders and even the laws in her country: the minimum legal age for marriage has been raised from 15 to 18 years in Malawi. Memory Banda also campaigns more broadly for girls’ rights and access to education. In 2018, she launched the Foundation4GirlsLeadership.

Amy & Ella Meek (16 and 14 years old, UK) founded Kids Against Plastic, a campaign for young people that addresses one of the world's biggest environmental problems: plastic pollution. The two sisters Amy and Ella Meek work with young people, schools and companies to eradicate single use plastic items. 14-year-old Ella has her own TV show on Sky Kids.

Rebecca Kabuo (also known as Kabugho or Kavugho, 25 years old, Democratic Republic of the Congo) is a prominent member of LUCHA (Lutte pour le Changement), a non-violent, non-partisan youth movement which campaigns for good governance in DRC. Rebecca wants to pass on to future generations a country where people have access to clean water, health care and security.

Hamangaí Pataxó (22 years old, Brazil) defends the rights of indigenous peoples and nature conservation. Hamangaí Pataxó is a prominent member of the Brazilian youth movement Engajamundo. Instead of cutting down the forest, Hamangaí Pataxó suggests drawing inspiration from indigenous populations, who interact sustainably with nature.

For more informations: Young activists Summit