Beijing+20 and the future of my country
Date: 15 December 2014
“When I think of my future I believe that I want to be in a place like this, a place where people come together from all over the world to discuss international issues. I want to represent my country, to be a diplomat of sorts!” Yane Elfrida Domingas Maia is an alumnus of Timor-Leste's National Youth Parliament, attending this week’s conference as the nation’s youth representative, supported by UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality and International Women’s Rights Action Watch, Asia Pacific (IWRAW).
Almost 65% of Timor-Leste’s 1.2 million citizens are under the age of 25, making Yane’s presence at this week’s conference essential to ensuring proper representation of the nation’s interests. Yane’s enthusiasm to learn and participate, as well as her future aspirations in politics, will ensure that the lessons she has learned this week will be utilized within and outside of our region. “I have gained so much during this conference. I now know how these events are run, and the negotiation processes involved. I will be able to bring this information back to my colleagues, so we are able to stand up for our rights effectively during national and international political events.”
At home, Yane’s passions have made her a visible and relevant advocate for the rights of women and girls at the national level. “Right now my advocacy efforts are focused on the inclusion of comprehensive sexual education in our curriculum. We have challenges concerning early pregnancy all across our region, and I believe that education is the best way address this.” UN Women will be following Yane’s career progression in politics and gender issues closely, and we all look forward to seeing her at future regional events.
Text and Photo: Christina Yiannakis, UN Women/Timor-Leste