OSM! Content and Digital Editor Leani Auxilio is excitedly packing her stuff to attend a three-day world youth conference at the United Nations New York Headquarters on August 1-3, 2012.
Along with 22 other delegates of the Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC), she will represent the immigrant youth in the US in discussing global and local issues that affect the young people, in the economic, political, and cultural spheres of life.
The MHC youth delegation is part of MHC’s cultural diversity program which aims to protect and secure the cultural identity of immigrants. This is the second year for MHC to send in delegates to the UN.
This year’s delegates (16-24 yrs old) who have been selected based on active community service/leadership and/or excellent academic standing, will join about 600 youth participants from all over the world. They are Nicole Calaro, Edalaine Tangkeko, Stephanie Lyn Marquez, Jessica Campanilla, Lexi J.A. Crisostomo, Iana Kozelsky, Jolene Mafnas, Gissele Pinero, Irene Barnachea, Therese Maria Igharas, Jennefer Ipanag, Camille David, Leani Auxilio, Ayah Manalastas, Andrew Jimenez, Jose Pestaner, Kara Abella, Krishna Mata, Rynchelle Campanilla and Kathleen Calaro. This year’s batch will be joined by five of last year’s batch of delegates as the group’s leaders: Raymund Valera Jaramillo, Alex Valera, Chessa Taboada, Lizane Joyce Mata and Heather Horner.
The MHC is a not for profit organization serving immigrants in the US through its legal, education, cultural diversity and development, medical and health programs. It was founded in 2005 by the Valeras, Jesse Gatchalian, and a few community leaders in Virginia and Maryland who currently serve as MHC’s Board of Directors.
According to Arnedo Valera, MHC co-executive director who is also the UN representative for immigration, global peace and security of the Foundation for the Support of the United Nations, “the delegates will help bridge the gap of cultural understanding and promote world peace through justice as MHC youth envoys.”
“They are future leaders of our communities and we should continuously guide, support and inspire them,” says Grace Valera Jaramillo, MHC
co-executive director. Jesse Gatchalian for his part said MHC’s cultural diversity program is especially designed to hone the leadership skills and attitude of the youth.
Delegate Ayah Manalastas said that the conference will make people realize that the younger generation “actually has something to say and that we care. I want to make a difference, and I think the conference will be the right time to prove ourselves.”
All of the youth delegates are smart, active and multi-talented volunteers of the MHC, Fil-Am Heritage Ensemble and other service-oriented organizations. Thirteen of them are current and past beauty titlists of ISA’s Miss Teen Philippines-AMERICA, MHC’s Miss Philippines Heritage, Miss Sunflower-USA, Miss Teenage Phils-USA and Mutya ng Amerika.