As of April 2019, the Austrian Commission for UNESCO has its first Youth Representative ‒ in addition to the Youth Advisory Board, the Youth Representative takes over the monitoring of UNESCO-relevant topics from a youth perspective and actively contributes to (inter)national working groups.
"Who should claim a say in education, international cooperation and peacekeeping if not us young people?"
Having grown up in Belgium and Austria, Ines Erker, 22, was captivated early on by transnational mobility and soon international politics. This passion was reinforced by an exchange semester in Costa Rica during her time at a bilingual high school in Vienna. In order to better understand the socio-political context, she decided to study economics and political science.
Ines Erker, 22, Youth Representative of the Austrian Commission for UNESCO: "For me, representing interests with relevance to young people means first and foremost working with young people and not just for them. Involving young people in the opinion-forming and decision-making process means getting them excited about the big issues of our time. In the end, we all benefit from this. That's also why I'm involved in the Austrian Comission for UNESCO - because the desire for co-determination and the ability to contribute are not a question of age."
Born 1996 in Vienna, grew up in Belgium and Austria. Bilingual ORG Vienna, February-July 2014: exchange semester in Costa Rica, since October 2016: economic and social sciences (focus on economics) at the Vienna University of Business and Economics, since February 2017 additionally: political science at the University of Vienna.
UNESCO Youth Forum
Since 1999, the UNESCO Youth Forum has been held every two years, immediately before the UNESCO General Conference. Young people from all 193 UNESCO member states meet at the organisation's headquarters in Paris to discuss and debate current issues in UNESCO's field of expertise.
Since 2011, the recommendations and results of the Youth Forum have been discussed as a separate agenda item in each of the program commissions of the UNESCO General Conference. The implementation of the UNESCO Operational Strategy on Youth 2014-2021 stems, among other things, from a recommendation of the 8th Youth Forum (October 29-31, 2013).