UN75 in Albania: The winners of the UN75 Youth Essay Competition announced

- The ceremony marked the completion of a yearlong global campaign dedicated to the 75th UN anniversary

UN Albania announced the winners of the UN75 Youth Essay Competition via a hybrid award ceremony Organized in Tirana.

The ceremony marked the completion of a yearlong global campaign dedicated to the 75th UN anniversary launched by the UN Secretary General Guterres. Through surveys and dialogues UN reached people from all countries and all walks of life were asked about their hopes and fears for the future, and how to address the challenges we face – from COVID-19 to the climate crisis, longstanding conflicts to new forms of violence, geopolitical tensions to social unrest, and rapid changes in our populations and in the digital sphere.

UN75 Youth Essay Competition in Albania invited young people to reflect on the UN’s 75th Anniversary motto “The Future We Want. The UN We Need” asked the specific question: “From dialogues to delivering: How can the pledges and commitments expressed under the UN75 Initiative transform our future?”

UN Resident Coordinator in Albania, Fiona McCluney and representatives of UN Country Team in Albania joined representatives from Albanian youth to congratulate all the participants to the essay competition for having their say to UN75 through their creative works and announced the winners.

In her opening speech Ms. McCluney thanked all youth activists that joined the UN75 campaign in Albania and provided a summary of the campaign. Talking about the earthquake and pandemic that have hit Albania she highlighted the concepts of resilience and cooperation as human virtues that resonate hope for the future of humanity and pointed to the active role of youth for leading the change. “The messages that you bring through your essays are those of hope and the belief for a better future. We are glad to be working with young people like you who are active, want to bring a change and have the vision to get there. Let’s continue to contribute to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and leave no one behind” – she said.

Awarding 1st prize to Anxhi Begvarfaj

The winner of competition was Enxhi Begvarfaj.  In her essay she talks about the notion of ‘hope’ while making an excellent scan of our reality, pointing to the pressing need of ‘action’ instead of ‘hope’. She argues that now it’s imperative for everyone to play a part towards a changing the course of our world to protect our future. As the world is suffering massive social, health and climate crisis it is time for countries to think beyond their national interests and embrace efforts for global solidarity – as the current pandemic is teaching us the hard way. 

The winner of second prize was Fatma Memalli. In her essay she argues that UN’s 75th anniversary is a moment of reflection for the whole humankind, a time to learn humbly from the past and to optimistically map our journey towards the future we want. She wants a future of multilateralism free from discords, petty interests, divisions, and inequalities. A future of symbiotically coexisting with the ecosystem and solving the deep environmental crisis! A future for meaningful youth engagement beyond rhetoric, resolutions and symbolic efforts. A future of people and nations rather than governments.

Third prize went to Ania Sauku. In her essay she takes us through her imagination to the near-and-far year 2050 in a time travel towards the future we want. She sees our planet and humanity flourishing and all concerns and worries of the past have disappeared: there is no poverty; the economy can sustain itself to no harm to earth and climate change issue is just is a tale of the past.  And then she takes us back to reality and discusses our real… current issues.  Quoting “…once we take a step back from daydreaming about the future we want, … it’s important to talk about how we can transform the present that we live in.

Our Winners

Osana Meta and Arlind Kamberi were among the 5 finalists and their essays convey strong messages regarding the future of UN and the role of youth.

In her essay, Osana discusses the current positioning of UN and the fundamental role it plays in “addressing and solving major, widespread problems”. For her UN represents the very place where multinational dialogue happens; the place where decisions are made and action are taken to guarantee the common values, interests and goals for the good of the nations. Yet she thinks that changes are needed to further strengthen the role of the UN to the benefit of nations.

Arlind Kamberi (the youngest of all finalists) thinks that education should be the mantra of the UN until 2030.  As “we are moving towards the knowledge and digital economy in the years ahead the only thing that can save us as young people to face the world is coming, is quality of education.”  He is very specific to what she wishes UN to do “I would love to see the UN create “Youth Digital Skills Fund” that will offer each member state the opportunity for its young people not to lag behind the digital world.” Read his essay here.

An Appreciation for UN Association Albania

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UN75 become an open forum for everyone to have a say for the future we all want. In total, over a million people and thousands of organizations took part, including over 7000 Albanians. Their views provided a snapshot of global opinion at this turbulent time for the world, with priorities and recommendations for how to build a better world for all.

Young people in Albania showed a great interest and were greatly involved in the UN75 Conversation and run several thematic dialogues, voicing their opinions and ideas and sharing them with Secretary-General. Through the joined partnership with the UN Association, UN75 dialogues in Albania were inclusive and diverse; spread through different mediums, platforms and tools so that they could reach out to as many young Albanians as possible.

Five UN75 virtual coffee talks events were accompanied by 6 informative Vlogs on the Sustainable Development Goals, Instagram youthful stories and social media posting; one UN Day Youth Town Hall and a simulation of the high-level event of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly when Heads of States and Governments adopted a joint declaration on the Future We Want, the UN we Need.

Albanian Youth Delegates to the UN joined the campaign and fostered the discussion in more than 10 meetings with youth and youth NGOs across the country. In total, more than 300 hundred Albanians from at least 10 cities were directly involved in the UN75 dialogues with hundreds of others following

UN entities involved in this initiative
FAO
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
IAEA
International Atomic Energy Agency
ILO
International Labor Organization
IOM
International Organization for Migration
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
UNCTAD
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
UNECE
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
UNEP
United Nations Environment Programme
UNFPA
United Nations Population Fund
UNHCR
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund
UNIDO
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
UNODC
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
UNOPS
United Nations Office for Project Services
WHO
World Health Organization
Other entities involved in this initiative
UNREDD
United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Multi-Partner Trust Fund