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The power of intergenerational talks - Young staff met with Senior Management


Picture: Young UNESCO during the General Conference in November 2019.

On 16 July, the Deputy Director General called for a meeting between Young UNESCO and the Steering Committee of the Strategic Transformation to discuss innovative ideas and proposals for the development of the Director-General’s Preliminary Proposals for the Medium-Term Strategy 2022-2029.

We have come through a long walk to have this conversation now at more strategic level and I count on your aspirations and ideals to reshape the next Medium-Term Strategy.

Xing Qu

Young UNESCO proposals on the forthcoming Medium-Term Strategy 2022-2029 contained several topics which young staff wishes to see highlighted in the next Strategy. This reverse-mentoring reflection is an innovative practice borne out of an inclusive, horizontal and consultative process, driven by the entire Young UNESCO membership of over 140 young professionals coming from field offices and headquarters.

Some of the main proposals discussed during the meeting were the formulation and implementation of crosscutting strategic objectives for UNESCO’s action at all levels, those being: education for sustainable development, addressing the climate emergency, heritage and intercultural exchanges for creative and peaceful societies and empowered youth partners.

Assistant Director Generals and Field Offices Directors asked Young UNESCO several questions concerning lessons learnt during COVID crisis, revamping UNESCO’s social media presence, youth engagement in decision-making processes, operationalization of inter sectoral collaboration and rethinking strategic partnerships. Some ADGs expressed willingness in continuing discussions bilaterally to allow for further exchange on the proposals and their possible integration in Sectors’ contributions to the next Strategy.

This effort is part of a series of intergenerational exchanges between young staff and Senior management, in the framework of pillar 3 of the Strategic Transformation.

Young UNESCO was officially established in 2019. Its main objective is to advocate for the rights of youth staff and their representation in internal decision-making processes. For more information about Young UNESCO, read the article “Young staff, the greatest asset for transforming”.