BAPS volunteers proudly joined the United Nations’ sixty-ninth Civil Society Conference, held in Nairobi, Kenya on May 9th and 10th of 2024. The annual conference unites thousands of civil society leaders, NGOs, academia, government officials, youth changemakers, and the media, among other stakeholders from around the world, in dialogue concerning a variety of global issues. This year, the theme of the conference was “Shaping a Future of Global and Sustainable Progress”, and centered on three objectives: inclusivity, impact, and innovation. Among the topics discussed were artificial intelligence, climate change, youth engagement, gender equality, and anti-corruption. These crucial discussions aimed to pave the path towards implementing lasting and sustainable change and set an agenda for “Summit of the Future,” set to take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City from September 22-23.
BAPS contributed to this dialogue through an exhibit titled “The Future is Now-- Involving Youth in Shaping our World.” The exhibit emphasized the importance of engaging and empowering youth to be changemakers and civil society leaders, and showcased BAPS’ many efforts to engage youth from across the world in societal service. Dharmesh Vyas, a BAPS delegate to the conference remarked: “I was proud to highlight BAPS’ strong synergies with the UN, particularly in youth empowerment. Recent examples of volunteerism in the building of BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville, New Jersey and the BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, UAE underscored our commitment to community service and youth development. On the sidelines of the conference, we took center stage in faith-based dialogue with representatives from faith organizations to share and better understand the collective contributions of all towards humanitarian activities. Overall, the UNCSC was a transformative experience, reaffirming our collective responsibility to address global challenges and together work towards a better future for all.”
Youth involvement in shaping and steering progress was a key topic of discussion at the conference this year— in fact, 40 percent of the nearly 3000 conference attendees from over 140 countries were youths. As Assistant Secretary-General for Youth Affairs, Felipe Paullier, proclaimed while calling for increased representation and participation of youth in global affairs, “Young people’s participation can no longer be questioned.” Riya Patel, a youth delegate at the BAPS exhibit, was inspired by the conference’s emphasis on youth engagement, she was moved by the dialogue that took place and stated that it “equipped today’s youth with the tools to shape tomorrow.”
BAPS, a global non-governmental organization (NGO) with General Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, has long been an advocate of the United Nations’ efforts to build a more harmonious global society. Most recently, in March 2024, BAPS volunteers participated in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York City. For more information on the Civil Society Conference and the United Nations’ commitment to fostering global civil dialogue, please visit:

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