Fatimata Cham ’19 was recently invited to attend the 2018 Winter Youth Assembly at the United Nations which was organized by the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation. Fatimata is from The Bronx, NY and was invited to this event because of the work she has done for the past two years with The New York Academy of Sciences. NYAS is a local community organization, whose mission is to “drive innovative solutions to society’s challenges by advancing scientific research, education and policy” and whose work seeks to address the Sustainable Development Goals laid out by the United Nations in 2015.
Fatimata has focused her work with NYAS on the lack of access to education due to poverty because this is an issue she sees in her own community. She believes that her generation will need to wrestle with these issues in the future, so the time to get to work on them is now. At NYAS, they work to come up with possible solutions and then take a grassroots approach by writing to local mayors and state senators. Fatimata continues to engage in this important work, even while attending White Mountain, through video chats and written communication and collaboration.
When she attended the Winter Youth Assembly at the UN, one of the highlights for Fatimata was a presentation by Munira Khalif, the 2017-2018 U.S. Youth Observer to the United Nations. Munira founded an organization called Lighting the Way which seeks to increase access to education for young people, especially girls, in East Africa. Munira is currently a student at Harvard University and Fatimata finds her to be a perfect example of the idea that anyone can make change, regardless of age.
Fatimata found the experience of attending this conference both educational and inspirational and she hopes to be able to represent NYAS at future Youth Assemblies.