- Forty-eight high school students from Hiroshima completed UNITAR Hiroshima's Youth Ambassador Programme in August 2022.
- Youth Ambassadors Koua Miyamoto and Shiori Harada shared their motivations and learning experiences.
- UNITAR Division for Prosperity aims to deepen the student's understanding of global issues and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), equip them with the skills of initiating and driving their projects, and allow them to connect globally with international experts and other young activists.
27 February 2023, Hiroshima, Japan – Forty-eight high school students from Hiroshima took part in the 2022 UNITAR Hiroshima Youth Ambassador Training Programme in July and August 2022. The annual programme was launched in 2010 and aims to nurture young leaders for the future. This year’s theme was “Building a sustainable city where people can live 100 years from now”. The Youth Ambassadors were encouraged to connect the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to their daily lives and to think of solutions to the world’s pressing issues.
For two years, the Programme had been held entirely online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the 2022 Programme was hybrid, combining the best of online learning and in-person workshops.
Learning from walking around the streets of the city
Physically experiencing the city was itself a powerful learning method: in one of the workshops, the Youth Ambassadors were divided in groups and walked through streets of Hiroshima city to find problems close to their everyday lives. Some of the questions they considered were:
- Is the city accessible for older people and people with disabilities?
- Is there any system to sort and recycle the waste?
- Do citizens care for the environment?
They were then encouraged to relate the problems to the SDGs and make presentations on how to build a sustainable city.
Broadening interests together
Koua Miyamoto (10th grader at Akifuchu High School) chose the importance of gender-neutral bathrooms as his topic. It tied to his concerns with in SDG 6 “Clean Water and Sanitation” and the water problem in developing countries.
But Koua also found his her interests broadened through the Programme. After completing lessons through the EdApp mobile app and engaging with other Youth Ambassadors and international participants interests in SDGs during group work, he she became interested in SDG 15 “Life on Land”, which focuses on protecting, restoring, and promoting the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems.
"We are destroying the earth right now. If we can destroy we can also do the opposite – to protect the earth” says Koua. He She is starting to look at what she can do in his her daily life to help protect the environment. He himself She herself is surprised by his her own changes.
Inspired by other young people
Shiori Harada (9th grader at Eishin Junior High School) was inspired by people her age discussing world peace on equal footing with Secretary-General António Guterres. The Youth Ambassadors met the Secretary-General when he was in Hiroshima and observed the small, informal dialogue between him and Japan-based youth advocates for nuclear disarmament.
Watching the discussion, Shiori was impressed how the young activists could think outside of their own communities – even countries – to talk with a world leader about pressing world issues. Shiori, who has joined nuclear weapons abolition campaigns, supported disaster victims, and is interested in human rights, agrees that each person should consider critical global issues such as world peace as their problem.
About the Hiroshima Youth Ambassador Programme
UNITAR Hiroshima Office/Division for Prosperity, in collaboration with the UNITAR Association, runs the annual UNITAR Youth Ambassador Programme with the support of Hiroshima Prefecture. The Programme includes lecture sessions from experts such as Ayako Takahiro, operations manager of Ryohin Keikaku Co., Ltd in Hiroshima. It seeks to inspire young people to think what communities, organizations, governments, and – most of all – they themselves can do to make the world a better place.
We love seeing our UNITAR Youth Ambassadors step forward to make society a better place.
To make the world a better place, we need to start with ourselves – like changing Hiroshima City, where we live. I am dedicated to do something I can right now to make a difference. —Koua Miyamoto
I will try my best to change society into a place where everyone can live with a smile in the future. I know the development of human society is important, but we can’t sacrifice the environment. It is fundamental to build a society where humans can live in harmony with nature and other living things. —Shiori Harada