“How I made it to the UN in New York”

Article published on Aug. 13, 2012
community published
Article published on Aug. 13, 2012
Interview made by Stefan Alievikj

Slagjana Sokolova has a say : It is the easiest thing in life to become Everyman, but it is a little bit more difficult to become Someone. If one is up to achieving something in life, one need to put a lot of efforts, investing into the future and some days results for sure will be here. How can you escape from the almost inevitable warp of unemployment? It is a big noisy and competitive world out there and it is better for youth to engage to a certain kind of cause, making their way up the ladder.

Is Macedonian youth engaging with valuable causes? Slagjana Sokolova, coming from Radovish, Macedonia shares a story of success, having started as a youth activist since the age of 15. Witnessing the issues that for sure are prominent in Macedonian environment, Slagjana has involved herself with the causes of human right, gender equality, domestic violence, sexual and reproductive health and youth participation. Being an outstanding youth activist she applied for a fellowship at UNFPA in New York and she was chosen among thousand other applicants from around the world.

“With vision that someday I can change something, make my society a better place to live, I actively got involved with the NGO sector, first visiting trainings, seminars, workshops, gaining knowledge about the issues that concerned me. NGOs are true source for non-formal education on these issues, plus there is the working experience on the field, and the opportunities to work on projects. Consequently you are good to go up the ladder,” says Slagjana about her beginnings, but let us hear more from her

1. What are the most prominent actions you’ve been part of, so far?

SLAGJANA: “I have held many activities, workshops, trainings and they are very important experiences for me. However, something that lifted me up was winning the fellowship at UNFPA Head Quarter in New York. This fellowship helped me to be more visible to the young people from Macedonia and other countries; an opportunity which gave me chance to motivate and encourage more young people to take an active role in their societies. In October, 2011 I had the chance to attend the Press conference making the day of 7 billion, an event which opened a whole new world for me as a young activist. As well, month afterwards there was the Woman in Leadership Conference, held at YALE University where I could share with students on my international experience and gender equality engagements.

2. How did you get chosen for your fellowship at UNFPA?

SLAGJANA: When I saw the call for applications I did not believe that I will get this fellowship because I knew that there are many young activists from all over the world who have applied, but I still applied and wanted to see how far would I go. My experience working on the field gave me self-confidence and I was hoping that my knowledge and motivation are strong enough to convince these people that I deserve this opportunity. When I got the first e-mail that I am shortlisted I start believing that I have big chances to be part of this program where only 5 young people are lucky to get in this life-changing fellowship. I guess that when you really believe in something, than you get it. I was selected out of 1200 applicants from all regions as a fellow from Europe.

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