Name: Fiorella Spizzuoco
Place of Birth: Naples, Italy
Education: Master’s Degree in International Studies
Aspired Occupation: I would like to work in the field of Human Rights and post-conflict intervention. My dream is to couple research and fieldwork
Favorite Book: Difficult question, but probably Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
Favorite Movie: As above, maybe The Grand Budapest Hotel
Zodiacal Sign: Aquarius
Hobbies: traveling, reading, watching movies, swimming, and hiking. I also enjoy writing
Describe yourself in 2 sentences: never, ever, ever get rid of the desire to climb a tree. Even the smallest person can change the course of the future
Question #1: How would you explain the UNYDP to those who have not heard about it?
The United Nations Youth Delegate Programme was established a long time ago, approximately around 1995 when the first version of the World Programme of Action for Youth was adopted by the General Assembly. Since then, a growing number of Member States have decided to lobby in order to promote the setting up of this unique program, which allows young and determined people to be part of the Permanent Mission of their country to the United Nations. Varying from place to place, the UNYDP usually allows young leaders to participate in several intergovernmental meetings, sitting next to real diplomats, delivering speeches, and taking part inside events and closed meetings. A life-changing experience that gives them the chance to challenge their knowledge and prove themselves, while gaining a hands-on approach in the day-to-day life of the biggest international organization in the World. Despite the long history, not all countries have decided to include young representatives in their Missions to the United Nations: up to now, around 39 countries have Youth Delegates to the United Nations.
Question #2: What are some of the qualities that the UN Youth Delegate should possess?
A good Youth Delegate should be a responsible, self-aware, and reliable person. Our role is that of showing to national and international Institutions that the youth of today can and wants to be part of the decision-making processes. At all levels. This implies a great privilege, but also many responsibilities: when sitting in the General Assembly and taking the floor, Youth Delegates don’t speak on their behalf, but on that of their country. In addition, a deep interest in International Relations, Politics, and the dynamics of the United Nations is fundamental; during the selection process in Italy, our knowledge of International Law and the functioning of the UN was tested.
Last, but certainly not least, a good Youth Delegate should be proactive and open to new people and cultures. They should always be in search of new opportunities and have good energy and communication skills: remember that part of the job is to share your journey with fellow young people of your home country.
Question #3: What is the most challenging aspect of being a UN Youth Delegate?
Probably, the most challenging part is the realization of tailored, precise, and focused projects to promote the engagement of students in schools and universities. As I said before, one of the biggest roles of Youth Delegates is that of passing on their experience to the youth in their country. Meeting hundreds of people from all over Italy, showing them that the United Nations is not a distant, unapproachable reality but something that works for them and with them, is probably the most difficult, yet satisfying part.
Question #4: How has this experience affected your life and the lives of the young people of your community?
Since I started my journey as Youth Delegate of Italy, my life and my ideas have changed significantly. I have gained a new, more flexible approach to work and a better understanding of the life behind the walls of the Headquarters in New York. Having the opportunity of seeing in real life how a Resolution is adopted, or how informal consultations are carried out, is unbelievable as it sounds. Right now, I am aware of where I want to go in a totally different way, a more concrete and mature one; growing up with the dream of being part of the United Nations, of their effort to make the world a better place, now I can say that I had a glimpse of what is like for the people who do it daily.
Although these are amazing assets I will cherish forever, the UNYDP has above all made me a better team player and a more conscious citizen of my country, which is priceless. I have the luck of walking this unique path along with an amazing person, my co-delegate Pietro, who has taught me more than anyone else. I have traveled and met so many talented young students and workers who are committed to making our country a better place for the youth, and I am thankful for that. All the values and teachings I am collecting along the way, are the greatest gift the UNYDP can give.
Question #5: Can you share an amusing story with us and our followers?
The most amusing story I could tell you is probably one of my interviews in Rome. After it, on my way back home, I received a call from an unknown number. My phone had almost no service so I took it expecting it to be a quick call from a call center, but it turned out to be someone from the Italian Organization that runs the UNYDP! They needed some of my personal details that I had forgotten to give, so I literally ran back and forth on the train looking for a place with some service to hear what they were saying to me. Turned out the only good spot was next to a small window in the train’s toilet, so I spent the call sitting on the lavatory with people knocking on the door and screaming at me. Turned out as the right choice.
Question #6: What advice would you give to young people like yourself looking to apply to this programme? Don’t be scared or hesitate a moment. If you think you have what it takes, apply. Read carefully the requirements and take a little time off everything to fill in the form, trying to have all the required documents at hand. Remember that your passion and commitment are the most powerful tools, together with your knowledge. Bear in mind your goals and confront with others: your friends or relatives can give you a hint on how to prepare for the interview. Be ready to speak confidently, in English, and on a huge variety of topics.