Samedin Rovčanin shares the same love for food or playing the piano as he does for the sustainable development goals. Born in Prijepolje, Serbia, Samedin was his country’s first Youth Delegate to the United Nations. This Gemini has pursued a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and his favorite book is “100 years of solitude” by G. G. Marquez. Now, his aspirations include obtaining a pilot license, becoming an International Development Officer and being everyone’s friend. Read the full interview below.
[UNA]: Tell us a bit about your experience as the first youth delegate of Serbia to the UN. What do you consider as the highlights of this experience?
[SR]: “I was the first Serbian youth delegate to the UN, therefore the entire experience was new not only to me but to the entire team behind the programme in UNA Serbia. The public call stated that aside from youth policy and English language, one should possess extensive knowledge on the UN system, which was outside of my field of interest at the time. That’s why I became a frequent visitor to the library of the Faculty of Political Sciences, asking the ladies at the library to provide me with as much as possible literature on UN affairs. I became interested in the UN not only to prepare myself for the UN youth delegate selection process, but the mission and purpose of the UN left me wondering if I would be suitable to work there someday.“
I would also like to highlight friendships with other fellow UN youth delegates from across the world, many of whom I am still in touch with for professional purposes in the field of youth policy, but also sharing the mandate with my charming female co-delegate Teodora.”.
[UNA]: How would you briefly describe the essence of the UN Youth Delegate Programme?
[SR]: “The essence is all about having the voices of young people from across the world conveyed at some of the most important global events. But this sounds too wage, doesn’t it? The essence is what you make of it. If you decide to be just another passive consumer of opportunities that will be sent your way, to attend various events, to smile and give general remarks, that’s fine. However, you can take the role of active participant during your mandate, which I find to be the more responsible choice. This role means you should do as much as you can to feel the pulse of the new generation, to hear about their problems and challenges, to relate them to the global situation, and find a way to tell it eloquently and decently at different events. “.
[UNA]: What do you think is the most challenging aspect of being a UN Youth Delegate?
[SR]: “Finding a balance between being the representative of youth and being the official representative of a country, since sometimes the perspectives can be in disagreement. Finding balance, however, is the essential skill of diplomacy, so lucky ones will make the most out of this experience to serve them in the future.“.
[UNA]: What happens to a UN Youth Delegate after his/her mandate has come to an end?
[SR]: “In my case, I ran for the VP and later the president of the National Youth Council of Serbia, the highest independent youth authority in the country. UN youth delegate experience made this possible because during my one year mandate my knowledge and proficiency in youth policy became advanced and enabled me to start thinking from a more strategic point of view which is essential to decision-making in any system. The most important piece of advice is to find a very narrow interest during your mandate, and develop it after your mandate ends. I decided to pursue the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and did my best to mainstream this agenda as a priority not only within the National Youth Council of Serbia but within the youth sector in general. This is what I am most proud of.“.
[UNA]: Can you share an amusing story with us and our followers related to your mandate?
[SR]: “I received the invitation for the final interview of shortlisted candidates only a few days before the interview was to take place. I was moving between 2 apartments at the time therefore I was not able to find a formal suit that I would wear for my interview. So I decided to show up with what I was able to find in my wardrobe at the time – short trousers and a “guns n roses” t-shirt. As you may assume all other candidates came in their black suits, white shirts, and red ties. I remember telling myself “Now you blew it, you do not stand even the slightest chance of becoming the first Serbian UN youth delegate”. The rest is history.“.