The power of youth: Theirworld’s campaigners take #LetMeLearn message to world leaders

Global Youth Ambassadors Mathilde, Blessing, Yuv, Gabriel and Jennifer in central Manhattan, where digital billboards displayed #LetMeLearn campaign messages (Theirworld/Ilya Savenok)

Global Youth Ambassadors, Let me learn

The passion and power of young people shone this week as Theirworld’s Global Youth Ambassadors – along with thousands of other young people – took the message of our #LetMeLearn campaign to world leaders. 

Five of our amazing young activists travelled to New York to speak at events and spread the word during the United Nations General Assembly. 

Highlights included: 

  • Seeing their tireless campaigning pay off with the launch of a funding initiative to unlock education for millions of children in developing countries. 
  • Sharing their voices and experiences at the historic Transforming Education Summit and being part of a Youth Declaration to leaders. 
  • Holding talks with Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education. 
  • Taking part in campaign events, including a Theirworld hologram installation featuring children’s pleas to #LetThemLearn. 

“Our voice is strong,” said Gabriel Monteiro, a Global Youth Ambassador (GYA) from Brazil. “We have proved we can be loud enough to be heard and we will never be silenced again if we put education as our first priority.” 

The other GYAs who attended events were Yuv Sungkur from Mauritius, Mathilde Boulogne from France, and Blessing Adogame and Jennifer Borrero from the United States. 

Here’s a closer look at an exciting and memorable few days of youth activity in New York. 

Friday, September 16 

Our Global Youth Ambassadors arrive, ready to spread the #LetMeLearn message. 

They head to day one of the three-day Transforming Education Summit at the UN’s headquarters. But first they visit the #LetMeLearn campaign wall on the UN plaza with Theirworld President Justin van Fleet. 

GYAs Blessing, Mathilde, Gabriel and Jennifer with Theirworld President Justin van Fleet at the United Nations

Blessing leaves a message on the wall. 

It’s youth day at the summit. And it’s a huge moment for Yuv and #LetMeLearn as he appears on the stage of the main General Assembly hall alongside UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

Yuv says: “We need to keep this momentum going and use this opportunity as a launchpad for inclusive and transformative education policies. I am hopeful that together, young people and decision-makers will work hand in hand to define a future where every child has the opportunity to unleash their potential. 

GYA Yuv Sungkur with UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the youth day during the Transforming Education Summit (Theirworld/Ilya Savenok)

A Youth Declaration is delivered to the Secretary-General. Our GYAs have been among the many young voices who contributed to the document. 

Gabriel says: “The remarkable thing about the summit is that for the first time in 70 years education has a place at the centre of the debate. I was so happy to see that young people took part in the planning and organising that event. As local changemakers, we are often closer to our community issues.” 

Saturday, September 17 

It’s back to the UN, where GYAs and other young campaigners meet Little Amal – the giant puppet of a Syrian refugee girl which went on a famous walk across Europe last year to highlight the plight of displaced children. 

#LetMeLearn campaigners with Little Amal at the UN headquarters

The GYAs meet Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, at the #LetMeLearn wall. 

Mathilde says: “I really enjoyed being at the summit because I got to meet a lot of young people but also government ministers. A lot of countries are really making youth voices count.” 

Then the GYAs have exclusive talks with Gordon Brown to discuss education funding – and the launch of the game-changing International Finance Facility for Education. After six years of campaigning by Theirworld, our GYAs and others, this multi-billion dollar plan will unlock learning for millions of children. 


Sunday, September 18 

The GYAs gather under the Brooklyn Bridge, where the impressive #LetMeLearn hologram installation is on display. It features young people who have been displaced from their homes by conflict. 

Blessing says: “I think it’s important not just to hear the voices of the people that can’t be here but also to see them. We are able to tap into their stories a little bit more.” 


Monday, September 19 

Mathilde and Jennifer appear in a panel discussion on early childhood education at the Unlocking the Future of Learning Festival. It’s hosted by Michael Simpson, Senior ECD Policy and Research Manager at Theirworld. 

Afterwards, Jennifer says: “My experience here at the summit has been extremely positive. Finally, youth are getting listened to. But I do wish we had a little bit more integration between youth and the leaders.” 

Meanwhile, it’s Leaders Day at the Transforming Education Summit. A Theirworld video featuring the voices of GYAs and other young people saying #LetMeLearn is shown at the start of the event. 

Blessing appears in a panel discussion on Unleashing the Full Potential of the Next Generation, hosted by the Theirworld initiative the Global Business Coalition for Education. 

Yuv is at another session – this time the Rewiring Education for People and Planet, hosted by the Education Commission. Talking about climate change, he says: “It is the most vulnerable (children), who are the least responsible, who are affected the most. Climate education needs to be included in every curriculum.” 

An eventful day ends with Theirworld’s Transforming Education Summit Outcomes event in the evening.

Yuv, Blessing and Jennifer at the Theirworld event in New York

Through the week, the voices and experiences of our GYAs have also been amplified by UN agencies, organisations and campaigners. Here are a couple of examples. 

Reflecting on her time in New York, Jennifer says: “Common themes this week have been having governments fund more early childhood education, the need for more education around climate change and education that really prepares students for their careers by focusing on skills. 

“I am extremely hopeful for the future with the change that I see coming around the corner. I think the summit has been a big step forward, especially having youth in the room.” 

More news

See all news