The World Day of Social Justice is celebrated on February 20th each year to acknowledge the importance of social justice to global peace, security, and development. In a bitter irony, Russia invaded Ukraine just days later in 2022.
As the conflict rages on, millions have become internally displaced or forced to flee abroad. The mental health and human trafficking risks are profound, with young people especially at risk.
In this context, we are developing evidence-based, multimedia distributed in a
community-centered model and focused on young people, promoting solutions
for trauma and mitigation for gender-based violence and human trafficking.
Check out our related video and infographic below:
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Through her scientific study, artistic work, and academic training in public policy, Nour Barakeh strives to understand society from different viewpoints and to communicate complex topics. She is a talented content and communications consultant and an accomplished playwright aiming at post-conflict peacebuilding.
Nour Barakeh is also an Agents of Change Youth Fellow at Wilson Center, a joint fellowship from the Environmental Change and Security Program and the Middle East Program, whereby, her developed project will be presented at COP28. Nour is especially interested in nuclear energy, climate nexus. In that regard, she has recently spoken on a panel discussion on “Bridging Climate Divides” at the United Nations in Vienna as part of World Youth Skills Day 2023.
Her M.A. in Public Administration from Central European University emphasized the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs) and environmental policies to combat climate change. She previously studied at the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus and graduated from the Faculty of Pharmacy at Damascus University.
As a sought-after speaker on the SDGs, refugee, and migration issues, she has spoken on numerous high-profile panels, such as, Beyond Borders Scotland 2023, UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2022, UNHCR Austria, 2020, International Peace Institute (IPI) 2021, European Forum Alpbach 2018 alongside former UN SG Ban Ki-moon and former Austrian President Heinz Fischer.
Nour Barakeh has experience ranging from research and strategy to social work and journalism. She aims at supporting the establishment of sustainable educational projects focused on empowering people through raising awareness, and counselling governments, NGOs and corporations on polices with a specific focus on the Sustainable Developments Goals. As a Global Citizen, she believes in proactively pursuing the necessary goal of peace.
Heather consults corporations, governmental groups, educational institutions and other entities on virtual learning, digital transformation, leadership development, employee engagement, change management, strategy, and globalization. With expertise in promoting emotional wellbeing on organizational levels, Heather consults on burnout prevention and mitigation and is often asked to speak on business-related topics.
Public outreach is emphasized, whether keynoting at global events, moderating high-level diplomatic panels, guiding technical-expert interactive workshops, or hosting televised broadcasts. Heather’s Manhattan-based television interview series has won national awards. Three broadcasts she hosted and produced on human trafficking began airing in the US in Q2 2023.
Heather is the founder and Executive Director of SDG2030.me and the Director of Development for the International Forum for Understanding.
Ethan Hill is a 12-year-old award winning philanthropist from Birmingham, Alabama. He is the founder of Ethan’s Heart-Bags4Blessings which is a nonprofit organization that services the immediate needs of the unhoused homeless population. He started this work at the age of 6. In 2022, he created a fully customized trailer which serves as the first of its kind Free Mobile Store and Educational Unit. It allows those experiencing homelessness to shop for supplies free of charge. He is an avid junior golfer who plays competitively on the high school varsity team at the prestigious Altamont School PGAjr., and as a First Tee Ambassador.
At 21, David Onilude is a Nigerian Digital Literacy Advocate, Frontend Developer, internationally acclaimed Social Entrepreneur, Ambassador for TheirWorld, Ashoka Young Changemaker, Teen Vogue 21 Under 21 Honoree, and Founder of Tech Now Global. He is a young changemaker empowering and improving the lives of children in underserved communities in Nigeria through technology. His work ensures that young people in rural communities have the digital skills, resources, and support to thrive in today’s rapidly changing world.
Davida Padi is a Social Media Strategies and Pre-Law Student based in the New York Metropolitan Area and Washington, DC. Her portfolio includes social media campaigns incorporating versatile design styles, vibrant colors, and cultural references that inspire and inform others. While Davida specializes in social media and mental health, her passion lies in public policy and digital storytelling. She is Ever so passionate about using her creativity to communicate with others. She has worked with, but not limited to, Pinterest, MTV, Rare Beauty, and the White House while concurrently earning her undergraduate degrees in Social Media Strategies in the University of Scranton. She is looking to continue utilizing her skillset to bring mental health resources globally while demonstrating that creativity is involved in every aspect of life.
Nyombi Morris is a Ugandan environmental activist who is known for promoting and advocating for climate justice and gender equality. Morris’ activism began when he asked world leaders and polluters to adapt to climate change based on the devastating rains and floods in Uganda. Morris initially gained notice for his youth and his ability to speak out. He is CEO of the non-profit organization he founded (Earth Volunteers), ambassador for the UNOCHA, and CNN’s “Environmentalist of Tomorrow”.
Geraldina is an activist and advocate for women’s human rights. In Ecuador, she represents the ALDEA Foundation and the National Network of Shelters for Women Living with Violence and their Children. She is one of the people in charge of the civil society femicide register. She is an independent consultant specialising in research, social action, and local and national advocacy for a life free of violence for women, children and adolescents. Geraldina has a degree in Migration and Development from FLACSO Ecuador and a degree in Social Communication.
Malaika Oringo is the Founder and CEO of Footprint to Freedom, a survivor-led organization. She is also the Founder of Footprint to Climate and the African Survivor Coalition. A talented advocate, she speaks up against human trafficking, stands up for victims’ rights and works to strengthen survivor inclusion and engagement. Malaika has spoken on various stages throughout Europe and at the United Nations in New York. Raised in Uganda in harsh conditions and exploited in the Netherlands, she has devoted her life to fighting against human trafficking. Malaika believes that since survivors are the most significant stakeholders in the fight against human trafficking, they should sit at decision-making tables from the community level to the national level and the international level.
Originally from Somalia, Suad has also lived in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, and Austria. She speaks six languages: Somali, Arabic, German, English, Hindi and Urdu.
She graduated with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Karachi. She works as a Social Medical Consultant (including psychological counseling) at DiakonieÖsterreich and as an Assistant Consultant at the Austrian Red Cross. She also works at the Medical University of Vienna as a researcher. Suad is a certified counselor regarding female genital mutilation (FGM) issues and is active in related community outreach. SDG 3 is especially important to Suad. She aims to spread awareness about refugee and migration issues, to improve the healthcare and pharmaceutical systems in developing countries, and to empower women.
Michael Spiekermann is a Fridays For Future Austria activist, as well as Austria’s Climate Youth Delegate on COP26 via CliMates Austria. As he describes himself, he is a ‘student, occasionally keynote speaker, impatiently waiting for government to pass a strong climate law’. Michael has put in practice his love for climate policies in various key institutions and organisations, such as Klimabündnis Österreich, Bundesministerium für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Energie, Mobilität, Innovation & Technologie and Agora Energiewende. As a Fridays for Future activist, he gives interviews on radio and TV, is part of press conferences, engages with journalists, and writes numerous press releases on FFF campaigns and climate policy reforms. In 2021, he was the UNFCCC youth delegate at COP26 in Glasgow as part of the Austrian delegation, and the next year he mentored the two new youth delegates at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh.
Through her scientific study, artistic work, and academic training in public policy, Nour Barakeh strives to understand society from different viewpoints and to communicate complex topics. Her M.A. in Public Administration from Central European University emphasized the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs) and environmental policies to mitigate climate change. Developing migration policies and combating human trafficking are also in scope.
With experience ranging from dance and theater to social work and journalism, she aims to support the establishment of sustainable educational projects focused on empowering people through raising awareness, and to counsel governments, NGOs and corporations on policies with a specific focus on the Sustainable Developments Goals. As a Global Citizen, she believes in proactively pursuing the necessary goal of peace.
She previously studied at the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus and graduated from the Faculty of Pharmacy at Damascus University. As a sought-after speaker on the SDGs, refugee, and migration issues, she has spoken on numerous high-profile panels highlighting young, female voices such as at European Forum Alpbach alongside former UN SG Ban Ki-moon and former Austrian President Heinz Fischer as well as at a UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development among others. Nour Barakeh is also an Agents of Change Youth Fellow at Wilson Center.
Laurent Ziegler (MA) is the author of the print publication »Die Erinnerung an meine Kindheit«, an autobiographical analysis of traumatic experiences of childhood trafficking and ritual abuse, captured in paintings, drawings, text, and photography. In his artistic work, Laurent also focuses on installation and performative work. He studied Political Science at the University of Vienna and completed educational programs in contemporary dance and film. Laurent collaborates with artists in Europe and Japan and in 2009 initiated an arts-in-education program for photography in Sri Lanka (One World Foundation). For several years, he led courses on perception and memory at the NDU New Design University in Austria. His work is internationally represented in group and solo exhibitions. Laurent is a current member of Künstlerhaus Wien and Bildrecht LLC.
Tarek Ziarkash is a dedicated law student at the esteemed University of Vienna, driven by a profound passion for justice and legal advocacy. As part of his academic journey, Tarek Ziarkash embarked on an enriching experience through the Erasmus program, where he studied law at Istanbul University. This invaluable opportunity allowed him to immerse himself in a diverse legal system and further develop his understanding of international law. Building on his international background, Tarek Ziarkash has gained practical experience through work abroad, engaging in legal research across different jurisdictions. Additionally, his commitment to social causes is evident through his voluntary work with esteemed associations such as the European Law Student Association and different aid organisations. Equipped with a comprehensive skill set and a global perspective, Tarek Ziarkash is eager to contribute to the pursuit of justice and positive change on an international stage.
Ishaan Shah is a 20-year-old international anti-human trafficking, gender equality and climate action leader. In 2017, he founded Stolen Dreams, a youth-led organisation working with global stakeholders to drive concrete actions around countering trafficking in persons through education, advocacy, and policy. Ishaan is the Youth Focal Point for the Review and Implementation of the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime with UNODC, a UN Women National Gender Youth Advocate, and Youth Advisor to the UK Mission to the UN. Ishaan spends much of his time with survivors, organisations, policymakers, journalists, and lawyers, learning from the best minds in the world on these issues and always recognising intersectionalities.
Zoi Sakelliadou works as a Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer in UNODC’s Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section. She is responsible for developing knowledge and innovation for the Section. With a career spanning over 15 years, Zoi has worked in the field, provided legal and policy advice and serviced intergovernmental processes. She has worked for the European Union in Brussels and served with the OSCE and UNHCR in post-conflict settings in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. She has also worked for the Greek Council for Refugees. She holds a Master of Arts in European Union Law, a Bachelor of Arts in International and European Studies, as well as post-graduate diplomas in Childhood Studies, Islamic Studies, and has studied Law. Originally from Greece, she speaks Greek, English, Italian, French, Serbo-Croatian, and has basic knowledge of Spanish and Russian.
Kirsty Rancier is the youth focal point for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and has in-depth experience engaging youth in educational and electoral contexts. As an Associate Programme Management Officer, she works to mainstream youth activities within UNODC and advocates for the accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals in inter-agency spaces. Kirsty holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Public Administration from Concordia University (Canada) as well as a Bachelor of Management from the University of British Columbia (Canada).
Ian manages the GI-TOC Resilience Fund, a multi-donor initiative which supports civil society individuals and organizations working to counter the damaging effects of organized crime around the world. He is based in Vienna, where he leads GI-TOC engagement with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the wider diplomatic and civil society community in Vienna. Ian is currently the Chair of the NGO Alliance on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. Before joining GI-TOC, Ian spent five years at the UK’s Permanent Mission to the UN in Vienna, where he led UK engagement with the UNODC and represented the UK in several prominent UN negotiations on organised crime and related issues.
Mag.a Katharina Stourzh, MA leads Parliamentary Cooperation within the EU and International section of the Austrian Parliament. This entails contact, networking and exchange of information with other parliaments and partner organizations for the purpose of establishing parliamentary cooperation; development, planning and implementation of cooperation with other parliaments, ongoing project management as well as follow-up and evaluation. Stourzh and her department serve as the contact point of the interparliamentary EU-Information Exchange (IPEX) and provide coordination of international parliamentary administrative exchange in addition to the preparation of information for the Austrian Parliament.
Weirong Li is the Founder and CEO of Raw Culture, a media tech social impact company that connects multicultural talents to international recruiters, empowering their potential. She is also an Intercultural Keynote Speaker, Trainer, and Facilitator, who has a special focus on intercultural communication and diversity and inclusion within teams. She has worked with universities, corporates, NGOs, NPOs, startups, and think tanks. She has a working knowledge of English, Chinese, and German.
Karin Dobler-Kreibich is the Director of Bundesrealgymnasium Wien 19 which is an SDG Ambassador School and part of UNESCO School Network. For the Austrian Ministry of Education, she also serves as the Chair of the Expert Commission for Geography and as Appraiser for School Books in the category of geography.
As Head Teacher, Karin Dobler-Kreibich ensured that high standards in all aspects of school life were maintained by closely monitoring operations. She maintained accountability for developing and implementing curriculum strategy and updates while managing overall operation of all school events, day-to-day human resources issues, and school premises.
Organisational leadership, educational-institution development, and team collaboration are among her areas of expertise.
Luca’s dream has always been to become a journalist. For more than two and a half years, he designed and hosted the weekly sports program of the online radio station “Radio Waltl,” wrote articles for “Die Woche” and “SturmNetz,” took part in the media summer academy “Energy for Life” and completed three internships at ORF (two of them at the Styrian regional studio, one at the ORF Center in Vienna). At the beginning of 2022, Luca started his own business as a journalist and presenter, offering mainly event moderation. In parallel, he has been completing the part-time sports journalism course of the “Paris Lodron University Salzburg” at the Olympiazentrum Rif. Luca is also the author of the book Daheimkicker, which he co-authored with Philipp Maschl. In addition, he writes regularly on inclusion and accessibility in his own column of the street newspaper “Megaphon”.
Rania Ali is an award winning Syrian filmmaker, public speaker, writer, and human rights and mental health advocate. She is an expert in media and communication strategies, leading projects with NGOs, working with governments advocating for human rights, peace building and mediation, and doing public speaking.
Ruchira Gupta is an Emmy winning journalist and founder of the anti sex trafficking NGO Apne Aap that helps women and girls exit systems of prostitution. I Kick and I Fly is her debut fiction novel.
She has been given the French Ordre National du Mérite, Clinton Global Citizen Award, and the UN NGO CSW Woman of Distinction among other honors for her contribution to the establishment of the UN Trafficking Fund for Survivors, the passage of the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act and her grassroots activism with Apne Aap. She has co-written a book with Gloria Steinem, As if Women Matter, and edited two anthologies, River of Flesh and Renu’s letters to Birju Babu. She holds a Doctor of Humane Letters from Smith College. Ruchira has worked for the United Nations in Nepal, Thailand, Kosovo, Iran, and USA. She teaches occasionally as a visiting professor at New York University.
@ Communications Officer
Mădălina Boț is an early career communications specialist who advocates for complex social issues via educational & (digital) storytelling components. She is specialising in human trafficking awareness, climate action and gender equality. In this regard, she is constantly learning how to put in different written and spoken formats the specialised knowledge she gained during her two degrees in International Relations. Mădălina works to amplify the voices of those with lived experience with a view to informing a more human-centred decision-making processes.
With a view to the importance of artistic expression, the World Youth Skills Day celebration at the United Nations in Vienna on July 14, 2023 will include an Art Exhibition. The Event takes place in Conference Room 1, and the Exhibition will be held in the hallway outside of that room.
Please note that the Exhibition will be available only to those who have registered for the WYSD 23 Event or who already have ground passes to VIC.
Some of the artists featured are listed below (alphabetically):
Markus Wane is an economics student at the Vienna University of Business and Economics. He is interested in International Relations (especially issues regarding EU/AU/UN) and International Development. He recently completed an internship in political reporting at the European Commission Representation in Austria where he focused on EGD, NextGenEU and RRF. Between 2021 and 2022, he was an Austrian Social Servant at Enda Graf Sahel in Dakar. Post completion of his service, he continued living in Senegal where he worked as an Administrative Intern at the Austrian Embassy in Dakar for three more months.
Les Simm founded the International Forum for Understanding and serves as its Executive Director. Les works in the business sector, with governments, the UN, INGO’s and other entities in areas ranging from security risk management and business resilience to humanitarian operations and disaster relief. He has expertise in nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons disarmament, non-proliferation, arms control and verification, security sector reform and countering transnational organised crime. Having trained as a psychiatric nurse in his early career, Les has long-term interest in mental health and wellbeing. Les is a passionate supporter of the SDGs with a particular focus on project implementation and making a demonstrable and direct impact on people’s lives.
Heather Wokusch is the Director of Development for the International Forum for Understanding and the Executive Director of its SDG2030.me and MESPERO: Impact for Resilience projects. Her career in organizational development, human resources, education, cross-culture, and media has spanned five continents and multiple fields. After completing an advanced degree in Clinical Psychology in her native USA, Heather carried out development work in the Philippines, then spent decades in Japan and Europe consulting academic institutions and international business groups. A firm believer in Impact Tech and the democratization of knowledge, she is an expert in virtual learning. Heather also provides consultation on topics connected to organizational development (including digital transformation, leadership development, employee engagement, change management, strategy, and globalization).
From Uganda, Malaika Oringo is the founder and CEO of Footprint to Freedom, a survivor-led organization that believes the only way to eradicate human trafficking is by giving survivors a voice and the opportunity to lead.
For the past 17 years, Malaika has been intensively involved in the fight against human trafficking, as a representative of the Salvation Army at the EU Affairs Office in Brussels and more recently as a global consultant on anti-human trafficking efforts. She campaigns for victims’ rights and works to strengthen survivor inclusion and engagement in decision-making processes.
Layla Barakeh is a humanitarian worker and disaster-management specialist based in Syria. She specializes in mental health and psychosocial support and livelihood training.
Layla is the Director of Humanitarian Community Life (HCL), a capacity-building initiative for humanitarian settings in Syria and Yemen. HCL recently rolled out an intensive remote training program (in Arabic) for psychological first aid in disaster and recovery periods.
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