We are facing an unprecedented time in our modern history as a global pandemic impacts the world in so many ways. The COVID-19 crisis affects us all – from our families to our businesses, to our communities around the world. As we work towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, the United Nations underscored the importance of global solidarity and turning “this crisis into an impetus to achieve the SDGs.”

With only 10 years left, the UN Secretary-General called this the Decade of Action urging everyone – including youth – for accelerated solutions to our world’s biggest challenges. As a response to this call, the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation established its Decade of Youth Action (DYA) initiative to engage youth in advancing and achieving the SDGs by 2030. The launch event took place at the UN Headquarters in New York on March 4th, which was broadcasted on UN Web TV and featured a panel of inspiring young leaders working to achieve the SDGs.

The purpose of the DYA initiative is to engage, educate, and mobilize young people worldwide to accelerate progress on the SDGs. To guide our work, we have developed an inaugural Declaration of Priorities focusing on three areas – Environmental Sustainability, Human Development, and Peace. The Declaration of Priorities 2020 is the result of a community-wide effort to gather input from youth around the world. We are grateful for those who contributed to the discussion which established these priorities.

The 26th Youth Assembly is going virtual

For years we have been exploring the idea of hosting an online version of the Youth Assembly – primarily to facilitate greater reach and access among students and young leaders from around the world who do not have the opportunity to join us in person. However, like many other small nonprofits, we always had to focus our resources on improving the Youth Assembly in-person experience and engendering programs to support our youth community. While the pandemic has brought challenges and uncertainties that fundamentally changed the way we must now work, it also led to an exciting opportunity to make the concept of a virtual conference a reality.

I am therefore pleased to let you know that we will be holding the 26th session of the Youth Assembly as our first virtual conference with the theme inspired by the Decade of Action, “Accelerate! Youth for the SDGs 2030”. We look forward to continuing our mission to cultivate young leaders and changemakers through the Youth Assembly by providing a unique platform for them to connect, learn, and take action – wherever they are in the world. Registrations will open soon so stay tuned.

The Decade of Youth Action has begun and, regardless of the challenges before us, we have to push forward. We see the Youth Assembly as an ideal way to accelerate momentum toward achieving the SDGs. Each day we see acts of caring, kindness, friendship, and love in the most overwhelming of circumstances and conditions. We need to draw on these wonderful examples for inspiration to persevere through this difficult time. I know that the FA community is made up of individuals who see challenges as something to overcome. I hope you will be able to join us in continuing our work toward advancing the SDGs and in our mission of bringing people together to create a better world for all.

For now, we are thinking of all of you and hope that you are safe and well during this time. Do know that the Friendship Ambassadors have been working diligently to carry on and continue to be a place for young people to connect, engage, learn, and make a positive impact. I firmly believe that the world needs friendship now more than ever, and I can assure you we will do our part to get us through to what will be a much brighter and better world.

Kind regards,

Andrew Macdonald
Executive Director
Friendship Ambassadors Foundation