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An Interview With Alyssa Chassman, Founder and CEO of UNITE2030 (Part II)

Published by Foreign Affairs Bulletin by IDSA on

An interview with the founder of UNITE 2030, Alyssa Chassman, regarding the programme and the upcoming year until the event in 2021. The topics discussed include the Youth Delegate Programme, the ongoing pandemic situation, what we are facing now, and a virtual round table where you can shake hands with the world leaders. This article is a continuation of a previous piece, which can be read here.

 

2020 is a really different year since there is a global pandemic. I am curious about how you would like to keep up the spirit. I already know that there is a Youth Delegate Programme and there are also online events which are really great… Can you please tell me about these?
Alyssa Chassman: It seems like we are building an airplane in the middle of the flight – both me and the board feel like this this year because of the challenges we are facing worldwide. We try to be as flexible as we can and we should accept the fact that not everything can be perfect. About Camp2030… we are focused so long to manage everything as it’s best that – however here is this situation when we are realizing that whatever we do it just won’t be perfect.  For example, this Youth Delegate Programme is a big learning experience for us. We are really trying to get to know our community better. One of the members of the board said that there are no ’great ideas’, there are ONLY  ’great ideas’ right now. I am not looking for the most groundbreaking programme, or the world’s best event that we have organized now. We are looking for support – which means taking a seat, talking to each other and seeing how we can help in this situation.

 

You have mentioned that there was a Youth Delegate Programme in 2016 and there is one in 2020. What was the difference between the two?
A. Chassman: Actually it is very different from the first time when we did it. First time it was a year long  ordeal, which was very long to keep people’s work quality remotely, to be enthusiastic and engaged. This Youth Delegate Programme is only 3 months long and we are a lot more selective about the people we are going to choose to join the programme. Who we invite to join we know already directly from the community – this time we have the luxury to do this since we have a super wide community where we can tap into (before our community was very small). We are really focusing on the talent of the people who will bring into the Youth Delegate Programme and we would like to make sure that they are the type of people who we would like to invest in from a leadership perspective.

The curriculum is totally different – first we were focusing primarily on the global goals with elements of leadership involved. This time it is primarily focusing primarily on leadership with elements of the global goals – so the other way around.  I am very excited about our second round of Youth Delegate Programme – this would be pretty cool I think.

 

We had some Round Tables before and you have mentioned the chance to meet with UN leaders and you were also talking about sub programmes like YUNGA & UNGA.  How does Unite2030 connect to the UN?
A. Chassman: We have partnered with the UN Foundation and they are really strongly affiliated with the UN – it is the “UN’s foundational arm”. We also partnered with global goals week which is the UN’s sort of “civil society around the UNGA”. We have over 90 partners from different organizations from all over the world. We have been working with them since January of this year. There is quite a lot of collaboration these days because we all have to do UNGA online. We also have 10 spaces for YUNGA this year. YUNGA is an event hosted by an incredible organization. And we are doing the entire event virtually – a Youth General Assembly, which honestly so beyond my understanding how it works (she smiles). Apparently you can shake virtual hands with world leaders – you are taking seats around a virtual reality round table – I cannot even conceptualize it. However there are 54 seats available for the world’s top young leaders and we have 10 of them for our youth delegates. We try a lot to align the work of the UN as much as we can – for example by UN organizations, UN agencies (in the past) – and we are all looking for collaboration with other organizations.

 

I wish success with this for you, and hope that we can make more further interviews in the future! Thank you for the conversation!

 

— Anna Viola Hornyik is a Masters student of International Relations, currently studying at the University of Szeged —


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