Deputy Director-General meets with Young UNESCO

19 November 2018

UNESCO young staff members met with Deputy Director-General, Xing Qu, to engage in dialogue about Strategic Transformation and how to incorporate their voices and experiences in the ongoing process.

“I would like to know what kind of UNESCO you would like to see in 2030, and how can you contribute to the transformation of the organization?” asked Xing Qu in his opening to approximately forty colleagues in their late twenties and early thirties.

The meeting was organized to hear the ideas and insight of young colleagues at UNESCO about the ongoing Strategic Transformation process and find ways to best integrate their voices.

Among the topics discussed in the meeting, human resources issues were the main concern among them. Participants highlighted the issues of too many different types of insecure contracts and unpaid internships, which creates an unbalanced geographical representation.

Director of Human Resource Management, Hong Kwon, explained to the young participants the overall coordination between other UN offices regarding the position of young colleagues among the UN system, and discussed plans for improving contractual modalities for internships. Many young representatives made constructive proposals to him for improving policies, traineeships, inclusion of young people and establishing career development mechanisms such as mentorship programs.

The young colleagues see that communication is of high importance for any organization. They stressed that UNESCO should focus more on strategic communication and invest in our visibility in social media platforms. This would include reducing control and validation processes and act in a more responsive manner.

Communication networks are highly connected and fast, and UNESCO needs to be able to keep the speed, many young representatives expressed.

Moez Chakchouk, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, highlighted the important role of young colleagues in making UNESCO more visible. He said the Working Group on communication of the Strategic Transformation process will propose and implement new ways of promoting UNESCO’s work, programs and actions through social media platforms.

It was mutually agreed that innovation and creativity are important motors for success and motivation for everyday work. To innovate, we also need to reduce heavy administrative processes and hierarchical structures. These are issues that colleagues of the Strategic Transformation process are looking at and will be making proposals on projects that aim to improve agility of our organization.

The Strategic Transformation team is very satisfied with the constructive first consultation with young UNESCO staff members and will continue engaging with them over the course of the process.