YOUTH COMMUNITY

Spotlight Stories

Finding My Own Path as a Peacebuilder

Veronika Leitmanova
#Youth4Disarmament Member
Attending UNITAR in-person workshops. The topics included negotiation skills and techniques; conference diplomacy and multilateral negotiations; diplomatic protocol and etiquette; negotiating, drafting and adopting UN resolutions; and public speaking.
Attending UNITAR in-person workshops. The topics included negotiation skills and techniques; conference diplomacy and multilateral negotiations; diplomatic protocol and etiquette; negotiating, drafting and adopting UN resolutions; and public speaking.

If you’re young like me and eager to help save our planet, starting out can feel a little daunting. That is why I would like to explain how I found a job working each day for a safer and more secure world.

A lot of young people want to contribute towards peace, and that passion leads us all in different directions. In my case, it led to earning a master’s degree in Strategic Studies and Energy Security—a path of study where I could explore nuclear issues, the peaceful benefits of atomic energy, and the risks of related technology being misused.

In my first post-university job as a volunteer project coordinator in Kiev, I dived into work preventing conflict, countering the illicit arms trade, and tackling transnational threats in Ukraine and beyond. From there, I studied under a scholarship from the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). I also earned an Executive Diploma in Diplomatic Practice through a year-long programme at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

Each of these unique and valuable experiences strengthened my familiarity with disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control issues. They also connected me with extraordinary people, many of whom helped me excel as a peace advocate.

Today, I work for Nonviolence International New York as a Research Analyst—a position I probably would never have applied for had I not attended a #Youth4Disarmament event.

It happened in the fall of 2019, when I was selected to take part in a programme called “Youth Champions for Securing our Common Future”. As part of a full day of activities organized by UNODA and by Peace Boat, an international non-governmental organization, our group spent the afternoon onboard a ship that hosts events around the world in support of United Nations goals.

During our visit to the ship docked in New York City, I was fortunate to listen for the first time to a speaker who, to my surprise, would later become my supervisor.

Gatherings of committed peace advocates can open unexpected doors. As I continued attending #Youth4Disarmament meetings at United Nations Headquarters, I joined a growing community of young people who share my determination to help cultivate peace around the world.

Yet even though the goal of peace unites us, what makes #Youth4Disarmament meetings so unique is the creativity that comes from bringing together our diverse perspectives. It can feel intimidating at first to talk about subjects like disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control, but #Youth4Disarmament provides a safe place where we can build the confidence to share our ideas with others who can push them further.

Teamwork is the key, and at meetings like these, we can help each other pursue a more peaceful world. If we continue to believe in our shared humanity, that all ideas count, and that every action matters, I know we can succeed.

Celebrating my graduation from the Hague University of Applied Sciences with a Bachelor of Arts in European Studies (left) and the University of Aberdeen with a Master of Science in Strategic Studies and Energy Security (right).
Celebrating my graduation from the Hague University of Applied Sciences with a Bachelor of Arts in European Studies (left) and the University of Aberdeen with a Master of Science in Strategic Studies and Energy Security (right).
Receiving my Executive Diploma in Diplomatic Practice from UNITAR’s Executive Director, Mr. Nikhil Seth.
Receiving my Executive Diploma in Diplomatic Practice from UNITAR’s Executive Director, Mr. Nikhil Seth.

 

My UNITAR classmates and I show off our new diplomas.
My UNITAR classmates and I show off our new diplomas.
Attending more UNITAR in-person workshops.
Attending more UNITAR in-person workshops.
My class on “The Past and Future of Arms Control, Nonproliferation and Disarmament”, held in 2019 in Andalo, Italy, by the International School on Disarmament and Research on Conflicts.
My class on “The Past and Future of Arms Control, Nonproliferation and Disarmament”, held in 2019 in Andalo, Italy, by the International School on Disarmament and Research on Conflicts.
I join other participants in “Global Security & Regional Disorder: Evolving Challenges, Elusive Solutions?”, held in 2019 in Kyrenia, Cyprus, by the International School on Disarmament and Research on Conflicts.
I join other participants in “Global Security & Regional Disorder: Evolving Challenges, Elusive Solutions?”, held in 2019 in Kyrenia, Cyprus, by the International School on Disarmament and Research on Conflicts.
Posing with my classmates in a course on nuclear safeguards and non-proliferation, held in 2019 in Ispra, Italy, by the European Safeguards Research and Development Association.
Posing with my classmates in a course on nuclear safeguards and non-proliferation, held in 2019 in Ispra, Italy, by the European Safeguards Research and Development Association.
Working on a group assignment during “Youth Champions for Securing our Common Future”, hosted by UNODA and Peace Boat in October 2019 (Photo credit: UNODA).
Working on a group assignment during “Youth Champions for Securing our Common Future”, hosted by UNODA and Peace Boat in October 2019 (Photo credit: UNODA).
Posing with other participants in “Youth Champions for Securing our Common Future” (Photo credit: UNODA).
Posing with other participants in “Youth Champions for Securing our Common Future” (Photo credit: UNODA).

 

Join Us!

X