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Remarks by Ambassador Hamamoto at Refugee Youth and Future She Deserves Event
June 17, 2016

Refugee Youth and The Future She Deserves EventAmbassador Hamamoto
Opening Remarks by Ambassador Hamamoto

U.S. Mission Geneva
Thursday, June 16, 2016


Hi, everybody.  Good evening.  It’s nice to see so many young people here for a change!  Welcome to the U.S. Mission!

The day before yesterday, I told youth participants at the Geneva Stakeholders’ Dialogue that the humanitarian community hasn’t done enough for them – that we have to more actively engage with young refugees to better understand and meet their needs, and to help them reach their full potential.  I assured them that they are not invisible…they are not nameless, faceless statistics to us – that we must do better….and that we will do better.

Today, I’m excited that we are combining the efforts of The Future She Deserves – our Mission’s signature initiative to promote gender equality – with the Global Refugee Youth Consultation.

The Future She Deserves is about empowering women and girls to lead healthy, fulfilling lives, safe from violence – focusing on protection, education and skill development, access to age-appropriate health care services, leadership training and mentorship, and many other issues that are of utmost importance to young female refugees.

It is an initiative that is built on collaboration, innovative problem solving, commitment to take action…by ALL of us…women and men…girls and boys.

Which is why it’s great to see all of you here this evening, and why I was so inspired the other day – listening to the young men and women who participated in the global consultations, and watching them support and embrace each other.

Tonight, we’ll hear from some of them:  Aya, Rez, Mercy, and Octopizzo.  I’m sure they’d be the first ones to tell you that their story is no different from that of millions of other young people – that they face the same problems and challenges, and that they have the same hopes and dreams for the future.

And this is what I find so inspiring about our guests tonight and all the other young men and women who took part in the Refugee Youth Consultations:  After what you’ve gone through, many would have lost hope.  But you didn’t.  You engaged with peers, international organizations, and government leaders.  You developed recommendations on what should be done to provide the support you need.  You’ve made your voices heard and, as a result, you are role models for others.

To all the business leaders, social innovators, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders who’ve joined us tonight, let’s use this energy to support the needs and aspirations of these young leaders.  They are a force for social progress and transformation.

At a time when we’ve never had more young people in the world – far too many of them forced to flee their homes and seek refuge and safety elsewhere – thank you for reminding us of the value and power of youth so that we can take your feedback and commit to doing all we can to give you the future you deserve.

Thank you.