A delegation from United Nations Youth Association-Ghana (UNYA-GH) led by WH Kobina Adomadzi Longdon, the National Youth President and two General Volunteers Faith Senyo and Chief Sadiq Adams respectively participated in a fireside forum hosted by H.E Harriet Thompson – the British High Commissioner to Ghana and Sir Philip Robert Barton (KCMG OBE) – the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for leaders of youth associations and coalitions in Ghana on 9th February, 2023 at the Residence of the British High Commissioner in Accra, Ghana.
During the invigorating interactions, Sir Philip Robert Barton, the Permanent Under-Secretary (FCDO) shared remarkable insights and experiences into his over three decades of distinguished service in the British Foreign Service. Sir Philip Burton in his address highlighted that young leaders and aspiring diplomats must understand and treat each country as unique and different from their home country. He hinted that the way states engage and interact has not changed that much in the international diplomacy community: states still work dynamically for their sole survival and resilient interests. He encouraged young people aspiring for careers in international diplomacy to learn new languages, be versatile to work in various roles and adopt fast changing information technology communication tools and skillsets.
In her insightful message, H.E Harriet Thompson, encouraged all the young leaders present to improve their negotiations, power of optimism, influencing and team working skill to enable them succeed in a career in the international diplomacy community. The British High Commissioner to Ghana clarified and admonished participants to appreciate the total sovereignty of both Britain and Ghana, reiterating the need for all stakeholders especially young people present at the fireside chat to actively collaborate in order to consolidate the existing mutual cooperation which transcends historical experiences.
WH Kobina Adomadzi Longdon, the National Youth President of United Nations Youth Association-Ghana (UNYA-GH) in his remarks, commended the existing cordial relationship between Ghana, Britain and the Commonwealth of Nations. He also iterated the need for key stakeholders especially youth-driven and youth-focused groups to uphold the ideals of the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations. In support of the Commonwealth Year of Youth activities which is commemorating 50 of Commonwealth Youth Programme, the National Youth President, also affirmed UNYA-GH commitment towards mobilizing young people to rethink, adopt and utilize best Global Citizenship learning and practices to innovatively resolve pertinent local and global challenges such as climate change, gender equality, rule of law, human rights among others to facilitate achievement of individual and collective sustainable development.
Some of the core lessons gathered from the deliberations with the two distinguished personalities included:
• Take sensible and well thought through risks. Dare to pursue diligently set goals and aspirations.
• Think and act in partnership. Collaborations not competitions among stakeholders achieves a lot more in present times.
• Patience with a long term view. Be consistent, focused and always with the end in view. Success is not a destination but a process.
• Be confident. Always think about why you’re in your current position and what you bring to the table and give your best at whatever opportunity.
In addition to United Nations Youth Association-Ghana (UNYA-GH), the forum also brought together leaders from youth-focused associations and groups including: Legon Center International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD), Young Diplomats of Ghana (YDG), Entrepreneurs, and representative of youth wings of the two dominant political parties in Ghana.