This summer, Ames High senior Ganna Omar attended the 2019 Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington D.C. as a United Nations Foundation, Girl Up Teen Advisor. The annual conference hosts “passionate youth advocates from around the world,” in an “enriching, cross-cultural experience that aims to empower, educate, and activate the potential of young changemakers.”
Girl Up was founded by the United Nations Foundation in 2010, and continues to work across a global community of partners to achieve gender equality worldwide. Omar has led the Ames High Girl Up chapter for the past year where their work has focused on raising awareness, lobbying elected officials, and fundraising.
This was the third year that Omar completed the thorough application process that includes completing several essays and submitting a public service announcement video. She is now one of 24 girls who are serving as Teen Advisors for the next year.
One of the purposes of the conference is to help the teen advisors become familiar with their responsibilities. Girl Up will facilitate at least one major speaking engagement over the next year and helped them network and refine the issues that they will be promoting and focusing on.
A particular passion area for Omar has been refugee education; a topic that she has studied at great length. Omar acknowledges that this is an incredible opportunity, yet one that marks a beginning of advocacy. The visit to the United Nations offices was memorable, and the training incredible valuable. Omar noted that many U.N. teen advisor alumni continue their work in some capacity. With a year left at Ames High, she is already looking toward a pre-law career path.