[Interview with Mr. Choung Jin Hoan through Zoom, photo credit: Min June You]
The Hope to the Future Association (HFA) presented me with opportunities to experience the bigger world through its various youth-oriented activities.
I first encountered a global project called ‘Container of Hope project’ for helping children from South Africa by sending them portable LED lanterns and colored shoes to support their well being in their desperate environment.Those volunteer activities implemented a common ideal of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are guidelines for sustainable development introduced by the United Nations (UN).
As a civil society organization associated with the UN Department of Global Communications, HFA also hosts a youth outreach program to foster global youth engagement in the SDGs, called the ‘Training Program on the United Nations and the SDGs.’
I chose to participate in the program to gain an understanding of the moral and political foundation of these goals and how they are discussed and formed at the UN.
Before the rigorously designed 5-day schedule with all UN staff and experts began, I thought it would be a good idea to learn more about the program, such as its motive and mission.
Therefore, I had a Zoom interview with Jin Hoan Choung (President and Head Director) and Hyeon Kyung Ha (Program Associate) of HFA.
Mr. Choung began, “It has been 10 years since I had the first graduates, and you are the eighteenth.” Then, he added that the program was originally designed for college undergraduate and graduate students, not for middle and high school students, as the UN doubted whether younger students should have interest in its agenda and whether younger students could comprehend the lessons conducted by high officials from the world.
However, things changed when he first met high school students as youth observers. They not only managed the schedule successfully, but showed even more passion than the university students.
Mr. Choung also said, “The most important point of the education is to provide a direct insight from the UN and thereby the participating youth can gain the academic abilities and motivation to act toward the global issues.”
He elaborated that starting the education as early as possible would allow the students to one day become global leaders, thanks to their early contact with the UN. “It would also be beneficial to our society,”
he emphasized, “as leadership with cooperation from around the globe is crucial for the global community.” Following his view on the importance of youth development,
he concluded that “Making a platform for the youth is always the biggest goal for us, and the Training Program on the UN is perfectly aligned with the founding purpose of the HFA.”
Next, I asked Ms. Ha, who is working at the Education Department of HFA coordinating the program, about the application process and any recommendations for the students to have during the program period.”We take students from both Korea and abroad as well, not limiting only to the locals, from Grade 7 to 12,”
Ms. Ha said. She added that each student has to pass the English phone interview since the classes are conducted entirely in English, and any applicants are asked to present their thoughts on international issues to practice their comprehension skills.
Ms. Ha went on to explain, “Nowadays, there are so many students who are very fluent in English, but we also need to assess their interest in the works of the UN and the SDGs.
I suggest the applicants talk on the current issues around the globe about which they are mostly concerned.”
She also added that what is more important than the English skill is the student’s passion to join because it may eventually help them learn more regardless of their basic knowledge of the UN.
The program consists of a straight 5-day schedule with more than 20 academic sessions, but through this tight schedule, Ms. Ha said, “It might be physically tiresome for students, but I try not only to cover the affairs of Korea but take a broad view of the world so that the students can motivate themselves.”
She mentioned that by participating in this program, students will be able to understand the importance of their roles in the global community and how to incorporate the SDGs into those roles.“ The program is worth it because the students gain insight that books or research cannot provide,”
she elaborated, “the history of the UN, main pillars of the UN, detailed works of the UN specialized agencies, or the number of Koreans at the UN, these are all what my students have been curious about during the previous project.
I hope any students to join freely and attain their intended goals.”
[Interview With Ms. Ha Hyeon Kyung Through Zoom, photo credit: Min June You]
After the interviews, I now feel prepared for the upcoming event, as I was informed by Mr. Choung on what the program is about and why the program was created.
I also learned a lot from the talk with Ms. Ha, who helped me understand what attitude I should adopt in order to successfully complete the program.
I would also like to encourage other students to participate if they are interested. Finally, I thank the Hope to the Future Association for making the program available to seniors like me as well.
Min June You
Min June You firstname.lastname@example.org
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