United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, United Nations
Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake was appointed as the United Nations secretary general’s envoy on youth in June 2017 at the age of 26. She is the youngest senior official in the U.N., and the first woman to hold this position. In this role, she works to expand the U.N.’s youth engagement and advocacy efforts across all four pillars of work – sustainable development, human rights, peace and security and humanitarian action – and serves as a representative of and advisor to the secretary general.
Originally from Sri Lanka, Ms. Wickramanayake has worked extensively on youth development and participation, and has played a key role in transforming the youth development sector in her home country.
Prior to taking up her post, Ms. Wickramanayake was instrumental in creating the “Hashtag Generation” movement to enhance the civic and political engagement of young people in Sri Lanka, especially young women. Previously, she advocated for global youth development on an international level as the first ever Sri Lankan youth delegate to the U.N. She was a member and the youth lead negotiator of the International Youth Task Force of the World Conference on Youth in 2014, where she played a critical role in mainstreaming youth in the U.N. Post-2015 Development Agenda process and in the establishment of World Youth Skills Day.