Between July 17 and 21, 2016 Kenya is set to welcome other African and world leaders, United Nations officials, business CEOs and managing directors, entrepreneurs, diplomats and many other officials to the city of Nairobi. They will congregate together in order to participate in the fourteenth session of the Ministerial Conference of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 14). For the first time ever the organisers of have arranged a Youth Forum event on the sidelines of the UNCTAD. Young people from all over the world, between the ages of eighteen and thirty and with an interest in local, regional, and global issues related to trade and development were invited to apply. In total, two hundred and fifty were selected, including the author of this article, who will be attending*.

By bringing millennials together from all over the world the organisers want to contribute to ‘Shaping the Future You Want’, which is the major theme of the Forum. The Youth Forum will provide its participants with the opportunity to interact with global leaders and learn from their experiences, raise awareness with these global leaders on issues they wish to see included on the world agenda, and help to create a network of future leaders from different places around the world. The three major topics of the Youth Forum, identified through a United Nations survey carried out in 2015, are better education, more and better jobs, and state accountability. Participants will not only be able to partake in the activities and events organised especially for the Youth Forum, where they can engage in passionate debates, but they will also have the opportunity to attend UNCTAD 14 thematic side events.

As the name of the UNCTAD 14 suggests, the main focus of participants will be on issues related to trade and development under the theme: moving toward an inclusive and equitable global economic environment for trade and development. The conference will help to set UNCTAD’s mandate and work priorities as well as to discuss and debate “the world’s key and emerging issues affecting the global economy,” to discuss policy options, and to help formulate global policy responses.

The author looks forward to this exciting opportunity to attend the inaugural UNCTAD 14 Youth Forum and to meet, network with, and learn from other youths from across the world as well as from global leaders. Furthermore, it will also be an excellent opportunity to learn more about issues affecting the development of the youth, how they potentially can be solved, and what can be done to improve the future of youths around the world. He will be reporting directly from Nairobi on the UNCTAD 14 Youth Forum, his experiences, the events he participates in, and the outcomes of the Youth Forum. Stay tuned for more details.

*Ken Fullerton’s flights to and from Nairobi have been sponsored by the University of Potsdam (UP) Transfer GmbH in Germany. UP Transfer was established in 1998 as a non-profit organisation. It exists to organise a modern and competitive transfer of knowledge and technology through the University of Potsdam. For further information visit the UP Transfer website. To contact the author, Ken Fullerton, email or contact him on Twitter using @KenFullerton.