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<<First Name>>, do you believe you can change the world? We believe you do - whether by working in the United Nations, or volunteering for NGOs, or choosing another career path. This month we would like to share with you an inspirational story of Sana Afouaiz, a young and ambitious lady who believes we all can start our mission right now regardless of our gender, country of origin and cultural differences. 

FOLLOW YOUR PASSION TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE

 

Every young person needs not only to understand the political process but also to be involved. We can all make a change in our respective communities and countries. Although, nowadays youth seems to be not only excluded from the decision making process, but, moreover, disinterested. "Why?" you might ask. Today, young people don’t believe in politics any more, for many of them the political sphere is a corrupted world. I couldn’t deny it, but we shouldn’t use it as an excuse for ignoring political processes. 
 

Inspiration and the source of power

My father had the same opinion as most of us have. When I decided to study politics and was selected to study Political Science in Belgium, he told me, “You will regret studying in this field, you are too honest to build a career in the political field.” For him, politics is a closed field and  privileged to political players who control and make decisions according to their views. For me, politics is a way to develop my community, listen to peoples' concerns and build a better Morocco. Being a very careful man, my father wished me a peaceful life without no political concerns. Therefore, I rejected my studies in Belgium and went to Morocco University to study Communication and Information management. Nevertheless, I didn’t give up my ambition.

On the contrary, my mother encouraged me to build a career in a sphere where I can do my best; she insisted that I should do what inspires me most. She remains my continuous inspiration throughout my life. My mother kept saying that in the world of more than 7 billion people many of them will underestimate my skills and abilities, and they treat my chances to make a change with contempt. “But remember to take them as a strength to push yourself do much better and prove your power,” she would say. Indeed, many people, even the closest ones, tried to undervalue me, but I took them as a source of power which pushes me to give the best of myself.  

 

Patience and continuous improvement

My family’s inspiration is an asset. It is usually hard to prove yourself as a leader, especially if you are a woman. I come from south Morocco and apart from the usual effort to succeed, I have to prove and demonstrate that I am capable like any other man or even far better. I remained patient while striving for leadership and chose to become a role model for my community and the people who believe in me. 

I believe a great leader is the one who makes a leap of faith; the one who shows confidence and decisiveness himself. Based on my modest experience, if you don’t have faith in your abilities, you cannot be an example of a leader. Leadership can be learned and should be learned. Leadership is a continuous process of improving and reflecting and self-development.

 

Leadership across borders

This modest philosophy guided me to my master's degree in France and to my achievements in the Political Communications sphere. Being a Youth Policy Analyst for many international organizations and events, I discuss the topic of gender equality and women's involvement in the political and in the economic life. My interest in Africa and a desire to make a change to the hunger problems on the continent led me to serve as an international leader for African development by promoting economic integration of young people and putting pressure on African governments. 


Numerous events and programmes about the problems of the Arab world such as the “Middle East Partnership Initiative” and “The Regional Model Arab League Stimulation” gave me a chance to debate policy issues with government institutions, civil societies, and Arab citizens. 


Meanwhile, I am also a human rights activist, a women's advocate as an ambassador for “Young Men For Gender Equality”, a correspondent and an international delegate for Voice of Women Initiative, a contributor for the “World Pulse” and futurist thinker for “Foresight For Development”.  I speak for women's rights and as voice for youth in many international discussions in Greece, USA, Turkey, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Indonesia, Spain, Belgium, France, Austria and many other countries. 

My passion brought me to my personal blog "Youth Voice" to show what a young girl can do to change the world. I consider my blog as a tool for the young generation to make their voices and concerns heard. 

Believe in yourself!

“I believe in myself. I believe in the hands that work, in the brains that think, and in the hearts that love.” - Richard Branson.

I believe in my abilities to bring change into my communities. I believe my passion and continuous learning will strengthen my personality and skills. I constantly challenge myself to work harder and make the best of myself. I keep listening to peoples’ concerns and get myself involved in the lives of my fellow human beings, communities and my country. 

My advice would be to never stop as you design the future of the world you live in. As for myself, I have just begun.

Sana Afouaiz is a human rights activist in the areas of women and youth empowerment. She currently works as a global accountability and governance task team member in the Restless Development Organization striving to empower young people. Sana also assists African development by promoting the economic integration of African youth in Diaspora for “Verein Afrikanischer Studentinnen Und Studenten”.
2015 UNAOC-EF Summer School: applications are still open! 75 individuals from across the globe aged 18-35 will be invited to address global challenges in the context of cultural and religious diversity.
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