Joe Ghossein (Mechanical Engineering student), was selected, last Tuesday, February 11, 2020, to be part of the 5-member delegation representing Lebanon at the 2020 ECOSOC Youth Forum, which will take place on 1-2 April 2020 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The forum is a platform for young people to engage in a dialogue with the UN Member States and UN entities on transformative pathways for realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development. The Forum is a unique space for young people to share ideas and showcase innovative initiatives and individual and collective work by youth and others to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) based on national, regional, and global experiences.
Joe’s idea, “Youth Connectify,” is a mobile application that serves as a platform to connect innovators and link them with skilled individuals to form the basis of successful startup teams, a feature unique to this application. The app allows up-and-coming entrepreneurs to share and perfect their ideas together before turning them into viable startups.
The University of Balamand’s engagement in the program goes back to August 2019 when a group of students was selected to represent the university in the “Youth Innovation for Lebanon’s Sustainable Development” workshop organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), in partnership with the Ministry of State for Economic Empowerment of Women and Youth (EEWAY), UNDP, and ESCWA. The workshop that aimed to explore innovative ideas to accelerate development in Lebanon was followed by a series of seminars, by the end of which only 25 participants out of the original 160 were nominated to deliver their pitches over two rounds. In addition to Joe, three other UOB students took part in the program: Tania Habib (MS Chemical Engineering, Hanna AbelMassih (BS Computer Engineering), and Farouk Kabbara (BS Biology).
Joe, with the Lebanese Delegation to the forum, will have the opportunity to engage with government representatives, policymakers, and stakeholders in the civil society and private sector. The two-day conference will also feature plenary sessions with Ministers responsible for youth and breakout sessions; both focused on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
This achievement stems from the University of Balamand’s strong commitment to actively engage its students and community in awareness, promotion, and advocacy of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.