Fri | Jun 5, 2020

St Thomas native to participate in first UN Youth Climate Summit

Published:Thursday | September 19, 2019 | 12:22 AMShanna Monteith/Gleaner Writer
Kristeena Monteith
Kristeena Monteith

The United Nations (UN) set out on a mission last year to unearth 17 of the world’s greatest young change makers, innovators and groundbreakers who are expected to drive the success of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, and Kristeena Monteith of West Albion in St Thomas proudly stands as the only Caribbean representative of the lot.

Now looking to start the second year of her tenure as a UN Young Leader, the 25-year-old scholar, alongside the selected others from several other countries, will be attending and participating in various events at the United Nations General Assembly to contribute their expertise regarding the SDGs.

Giving a review of the activities undertaken in the last year, Monteith said, “I attended conferences and summits in China, Rome and Nigeria, contributing to the drafting of initiatives on youth and creativity, heritage and culture, and decent jobs for youth.

monteith’s roles

“My role is partly to promote the SDGs in general, contribute my expertise regarding youth priorities regarding the SDGs, and my personal agenda has been to leverage the creative industries to connect young people and support their leadership in SDG priorities.”

The young trailblazer will also join the other three Jamaicans who were recently awarded ‘green tickets’ to participate in the first-ever UN Youth Climate Summit on September 21 at the UN Headquarters in New York.

In addition to the summit, Monteith is expected to attend the SDG Action Zone and the Misk- OSGEY Youth Forum, which brings young creators and thinkers together with established global innovators to explore, experience and experiment with ways to meet the challenge of change. She will then return to London and go on to Geneva, Switzerland, to speak at the UN Human Rights Council Social Forum on ‘Education for Children and Youth’.

The St Thomas native, who recently completed her master’s of arts in media and creative industries at the Loughborough University in London as a part of the cadre of 2018-2019 Chevening scholars, told The Gleaner that she is excited about returning home to execute the various initiatives she has been pursuing.

She said, “Chevening was literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to expand my knowledge and skill set, expand my network, and gain a global perspective on the issues we face in the Caribbean and as a nation.

“I’m looking forward to putting all of that at the service of my parish and Jamaica through a couple initiatives I’m working on, collaborating with some talented local minds.”

Though the brainy millennial refused to expand on her plans for the parish and country, she revealed that each has to do with community development and civic infrastructure, such as libraries and community centres.