Fourteen UTM students will be heading this week, for the first time, to the United Nations headquarters in New York to take part in the Winter Youth Assembly.

According to The Youth Assembly on the United Nations website, the conference goal is to “highlight the interdependence and universality of the Sustainable Development Goals by exploring multifaceted global issues such as poverty, education, and sustainable consumption and production.”

In an interview with The Medium, Eashan Karnik, a UTM 2016 psychology graduate and one of the delegates, stated that 130 other countries are sending their youth leaders, amounting to a total of approximately 400 to 500 students, to participate in the conference.

“This assembly provides an opportunity to learn from individuals in communities around the world and share common problems, solutions, and goals,” said Karnik. “By learning how youth leaders in diverse nations have found solutions to problems that they face, we can utilize this knowledge to achieve a solution to similar issues.”

Karnik explained that he brought up the idea to professor Barbara Murck’s third-year Environmental Issues in the Developing World course. Karnik added that the department became a “major source of funding” to the delegates group.

Karnik explained that he applied through a group delegate application, where he and his group talked about U of T, discussed the reasons they want to participate, as well as their knowledge and experiences at U of T.

“Our goals from participating in this assembly primarily consist of sharing our experiences and education with students and leaders within our community to build progress towards achieving the [sustainable development goals],” he said.

Among the speakers at the event will be the president of the 71st UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson; the secretary-general’s envoy on youth, Ahmad Alhendawi; the director of Global Education Monitoring Report of UNESCO, Aaron Benavot; and the deputy director of the UN Environment Programme, Jamil Ahmad.

The assembly runs from February 1 to 3 and is held twice a year, once in the spring and again in the winter.