Two Northampton women represent young people worldwide at United Nations summit

Catherine White (left) and Megan Smith act as chairmen at a UN summit for young people
Catherine White (left) and Megan Smith act as chairmen at a UN summit for young people
  • Both women were selected out of 40 to act as chairmen representing views of young people to UN delegates
  • Their work on issues such as Ebola, abortion and mental health will be discussed by the UN and World Health Organisation
  • They are keen to support more young people to get involved in international policy-making

Two students from Northampton could have their views on Ebola, abortion and medicines heard at UN level after their work with an organisation promoting the voice of young people on world issues.

Catherine White, from Hartwell Close in Kingsthorpe, and Megan Smith, from The Ashway in Brixworth, were selected to act as chairmen for a meeting with UN member state representatives in Geneva last month.

Catherine White addresses UN delegates on global issues

Catherine White addresses UN delegates on global issues

It follows a similar summit they attended last year with a team of 40 young people from around the world, all working with non-profit organisation Ariel Foundation International Changemakers, where they shared with delegates their ideas for international policies on slavery, discrimination and food security in conflict zones.

The two women have now had their own individual reports on Ebola, access to abortion for rape victims and the issues surrounding the stigmatisation of mental health and medicine patenting, published and ready to be discussed at UN and World Health Organisation summits over the year, including in Geneva in April and Brussels in November.

Miss White, aged 21, said: “Delegates said they were amazed at what was being said, and could be including some of our points in recommendations for international policy.”

In their role as chairmen, the pair, who were reunited at the December summit after studying together at Moulton School, are keen to look for new ways to promote the importance of involving young people in the UN.

Delegates said they were amazed at what was being said, and could be including some of our points in recommendations for international policy

Miss Smith, aged 22, said: “It’s such a good platform for young people to have their voices heard, and involving people from around the world makes it as representative as possible.

“This is our underlying aim and we are keen to look into fundraising to send more young people to these summits, who would not otherwise be able to afford it.”

A law student at King’s College in London, Miss Smith is currently studying for a year in Holland and started attending the UN summits in December 2013.

She added: “Work like this, and for other charities, has evolved my passions and, while it has involved a heavy amount of work alongside my course, it has been enjoyable.

“I would really love to be a legal advisor for an organisation such as the Red Cross and being involved in things like this constantly gives me an idea of my goal while I am studying.”

To read the report that Miss White and Miss Smith contributed to this year, visit: www.changemakers-un.org/summit