Wanting to make a difference

Image by Ines Garcia-Pimentel

The UNIS-UN Conference was organized by the United Nations International School (UNIS), and was held on March 7-8, 2013, in New York. The topic was “Youthquake: A Generation's Impact.” Youthquake was the name given in the sixties to a musical and cultural movement where teenagers dominated the fashion and music scene. The tone of “Youthquake” was fun, spirited and youthful. The United Nations (UN) states that youth is the age between 10 and 24 years. At this stage important changes take place. This is when we decide who we are, what we like and dislike, and what we stand for. The theme was chosen due to the increase in movements affecting the younger generation.

The Conference planned to address the power of the young generation to make its own positive change. It also highlighted the necessity of taking action for the benefit of the world. The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made the opening remarks. He pointed out the importance of the youth participation in the last years, and how the youth has shaken things for good. He also stated "I used to say that young people are the leaders of tomorrow. But I have revised my view. Young people are also leaders of today. "

In this year's conference we counted on the participation of remarkable speakers who taught us keys for a successful life. Kiran Bir Sethi spoke about the power of believing in ourselves; Brandon Stanton's on how perseverance and loving what you do are the key to success; Sheena Matheiken on how you can use creativity and talent to put it to the service of those who need it the most; Claudia Lopez on the importance of telling the truth no matter what; Corinne Woods on how the United Nations helps the world; and Chris Temple and Zach Ingrasci on the value of empathy and helping others. But what every single speaker taught us is that you inspire by your actions and not by your words.

In this conference I learned that there is no age to make a change. All you need is perseverance and conviction, to believe that what you are doing is going to make a difference, that it doesn´t matter what change you plan to make, as long as it is for good and that you start with yourself.  Changes do not just happen; you have to make them. Leo Tolstoy said "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." So, why not start where only few have started, by changing ourselves? Because that is the greatest change we can make, to try always to be the best version of ourselves, even if this means leaving things behind, because the change will be for good. Once we have changed ourselves we can start changing the lives of others.

We, the youth, are in a constant search to inspire and to be inspired. We are looking forward to make a change in our lives and in those of others. We want to make a difference and to go beyond ourselves by inspiring others and ourselves by following our dreams. This conference was the perfect opportunity to be inspired and encouraged to follow our dreams.

Ines Garcia-Pimentel
Student in Mexico
March 2013