In Conversation with Country Ambassador, Mr. Tej Raj Upreti

The way we engage with young people today will determine the prospects for sustainable development and peace. Young people represent a majority of the population in developing countries like Nepal. Empowering youths through opportunities available will cater for better tomorrow. Believing in youth empowerment, Mr. Tej Raj Upreti has been playing a great role in creating a bridge between the youth and the opportunities available within and outside the country.

Being the first Country Ambassador for Youth Opportunities Nepal, he has been working relentlessly for Global Youth Empowerment through YO Nepal and Their World. He is also involved in bringing partnerships with different national and international organizations working under SDG 17 PARTNERSHIP FOR THE GOALS. Down to earth, kind, determined would be the best words to describe him. His humble nature and motivations are something that inspires everyone.

Currently a student of International Relations, he is one of the few undiscovered youths of Nepal. A youth activist who is tirelessly working for Nepalese Youth to bring change in the society. Recently, he has been selected to attend UN ECOSOC Youth Forum at United Nations New York.

He has been creating a lot of opportunities for youths in Nepal through different new projects. One such project was Academic Ambassador Program and now, Stories of Youth Opportunities of Nepal. These are very new initiative in Nepal and he believes, through these initiative, he will make opportunities available to every Nepalese Youths and empower them.

He has represented Nepal as a delegate in 4 countries in events such as Commonwealth Youth Summit, Malaysia; Global Partnership Summit, India; Future Leader Congress, Thailand and Asia Pacific Youth Exchange (APYE), Philippines.

For his great achievement, we had conversed with him about the UN ECOSOC that he has been selected for.

You have been selected in UN ECOSOC YOUTH FORUM. So, can you tell us about UN ECOSOC YOUTH FORUM?

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum, which is going to take place on 8-9 April 2019 in New York is a platform that provides the young leader from all over the world to engage a dialogue among each other in presence of the United Nation Member States. There, they would share ideas to advance the 2030’s Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Abba Action Agenda, and the Paris Climate Agreement.

The Forum serves as a unique space for young people to share their vision and elaborate their substantive contribution to United Nation’s upcoming meetings, including the 2018 ECOSC Substantive Session, the 2019 high-level political forum on sustainable development (HLPF) and the high-level events taking place in the margins of the opening of the opening of the General Assembly, including the Climate Summit, the High-level Meeting on Financing for Development and the SDG Summit.

The ECOSOC Youth Forum is jointly organized by the Department of Social and Economic Affairs (DESA) and the Office of the Secretary General Envoy’s on Youth in collaboration with United Nation Inter Agency Network on Youth Development in particular its Working Group on Youth and SDGS

How did you get selected? Was it through a series of process or your work that got you in?

I got selected through the application process. They had a list of questionnaires which I had to complete and through those rigorous evaluations, the selection committee chose me. I think it is my work that I had been doing over the past 5 years of my life that got me in. Also, as a Country Ambassador, I have been working on Youth Empowerment which is unique and diplomacy that has never been worked here.

What are your expectations from the Forum?

I am a very passionate leader and I have always enjoyed working with INTERNATIONAL LEADERS. This experience has opened my eyes to several issues that I had not been aware before. I have also felt a need to have a strong network with amazing international leaders. So, from this forum, I am expecting myself to build a strong diplomatic relationship with CHANGE MAKERS that I can use later for my country especially in the sector of Youth Empowerment and providing opportunities.

Moreover, I want the voices of my youths to be heard at the United Nations. My current working experience in the Youth Sector (bringing an inclusive society) and the theme Youth Empowerment and Inclusion matches and thereby it would help me to share some brilliant ideas in front of World leaders.

How do you feel after being selected?

During my childhood, I always used to hear a lot about the United Nations and my father always wanted him to be the representative of Nepal at the United Nations someday but that didn’t happen. But now that I have been chosen for the UN ECOSOC Youth Forum, I know he is definitely proud of me and for me, I feel like I am on cloud 9. Representing myself being as a Nepalese delegate at such forum was my childhood dream and I have made it come true. That made me realize, with hard work, passion, determination, DREAMS DO COME TRUE.

How are your preparations going on?

The preparation is going great. I have been talking to my friends and family in the USA regarding my accommodation. I have already been able to secure my accommodation. I am also working on my concept note and papers that I am going to present at the Forum. Currently, I am busy with research work and meeting several youths (knowing their issues) as I am going to present these issues to the forum.

What changes do you plan to bring in our country after coming back from the forum?

Upon my return, I will try to help my youths to get connected with CHANGE MAKERS whom I have met there. I am going to set up an event on the topic ‘BUILDING OUR TOMORROW THROUGH AN INCLUSIVE SOCIETY’. 

During this event, I will share my learning from the forum and the power that an inclusive society can offer here. I will also create several groups in different social media as such Whats app and Facebook that will serve as a connecting platform for changemakers and bring realatable dialogue to figure out the burning issues on Youth.

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Written by Rashmi Lohia

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