Harold Hoiting, 23, is in the semi-final of the election for youth representative to the United Nations. This student of Management, Innovation and Life Sciences has to campaign really hard this week.
Harold wants students to be aware of the importance of them being heard. 'About 50 percent of the world's population are below 25 years of age, while the other 50 percent determine the future for us, the youth. This is strange. We know what is good for us and what can be improved, don't we? Young people are full of good ideas and have many solutions for the problems in the world and in their own countries. They must be given the chance to say what they think on various issues.' These may be about politics, problems faced by youths in the Netherlands, how youths see their future or how to handle international problems. Harold wants to find out what Dutch youths think about these.
If he is selected as the youth representative, he will travel throughout the country to tell youths about what exactly the UN is. He will do so in discussions and workshops, by visiting schools or taking part in debates. 'In addition, I feel that international cooperation is important because this is the way to tackle international problems. For example, youths should be involved in projects to fight poverty or about civil rights.'
Harold is full of enthusiasm, self assurance and passion when he talks about his goals and ideals. Doesn't he have any doubts or worries? 'I do. I am a doer, and the UN is a big organization of 193 member states. That makes decision-making extremely slow. That would give me a fair share of frustration. Therefore, I have to make sure that I remain realistic. I want to do many things, but I would have to wait to find out what my contribution would eventually be.'
But before all these can happen, he needs to get through the semi final. Harold feels that his chances are high. 'I have a lot of experience already. Before I began my studies, I participated in international projects and gave presentations. I was also in South Africa for a student challenge to brainstorm with Dutch and South Africa youths on how to solve water problems in Africa.' It was there that he found out how important it is for young people to be heard. 'During those talks with the South Africa youths, I realized that although they have many good ideas, hardly anyone listens to them. That's sad, because young people are the future.'
Whether Harold has hit on the right campaign note will be evident on Monday 8 October. He will then be told if he has made it to the final.
SMS 'Harold' at 5040 or via www.dewereldvandevn.nl
More about Harold and his ideals at www.youandItogether.nl