Meet Shenesse Ali, Close the Gap's UN Youth Representative 2019-2020

Posted on Nov 7, 2019 7:14 AM by

Since 2012, Close the Gap has been a member of the United Nations Department of Public Information (UN DPI). This UN department was established 70 years ago to promote global awareness and understanding of the work of the United Nations. In this context, Close the Gap developed a partnership with Fordham University located in New York, USA.

Every academic year, a student from the University has the opportunity to become the UN Youth Representative of Close the Gap, as part of their master degree. The Youth Representative attends conferences at the UN, acting as a bridge between Close the Gap and the UN. Two major topics of this partnership are ICT4Development (ICT4D) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which closely fit Close the Gap's mission to bridge the digital divide.

This academic year, we have the pleasure to welcome Shenesse Ali, originally from Trinidad and Tobago, as our Youth Representative. Shenesse is a master student of Social Work at Fordham University and through the course of both her undergraduate studies and graduate studies she has held many positions ranging from a Teacher’s Assistant for toddlers with autism, to a shelter advocate for victims of domestic violence.

Shenesse will have a busy year filled with many diverse activities. First of all, she will be Close the Gap's UN Youth Representative. In this position, she will attend interesting and relevant conferences at the UN in New York. She is also a social work intern at a high school located in the Bronx, NY to help assist in implementing social emotional learning within the school’s curriculum and culture. She is also a Resident Assistant (RA) to undergraduate students at Fordham University, which involves creating a community on the floor that she oversees, as well as creating educational programs and fun activities along with the rest of the RA staff.

"As the UN Youth Representative of Close the Gap, I look forward to learning about how other organizations are implementing similar concepts and what best practices can be relayed to Close the Gap. I also look forward to sharing what the organization does at different meetings through presentations and conferences. I hope to learn best practices and how the world of technology can better empower impoverished and vulnerable communities." Shenesse Ali.

One of the conferences Shenesse attended already is the Committee on the Status of Women, which was especially exciting because of the representatives and speakers that attended the meeting. The meeting consisted of a panel of experienced women who shared some of the work that they are currently doing and have done in regards to the culture of peace. One speaker in particular, Mallika Iyer who holds the position of the Program Officer for the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders shared the research they have done on the current issue of violence the Rhingya people are facing and how they have sought asylum in Bangladesh. Shenesse remarks that: "Learning from their shared experiences and research helped me in my own research paper that I was doing for my class work which is domestic violence in Bangladesh. Also, learning about the difference strategies and approaches to advocacy and policy was enlightening."

The UN Youth Representative programme is only possible through the close partnership with Fordham University and Associate Dean of the University, Elaine Congress, who offers guidance and support to the students in their relations with the UN and Close the Gap, as well as with the various activities that they can do with regards to their Youth Representative work.