YES Programs



Representing Youth at COP26

Armela in front of a sign that reads "Welcome to COP26" surrounded by greenery and flowers.

By Armela Mehdin (YES 2019-2020, Bosnia and Herzegovina, placed by AYUSA in Veneta, OR)

After returning home from my YES exchange year, I became a member of the prominent youth organization AISEC. At a debate organized by The United Nations Development Programme and AISEC, my colleague and I debated about the Paris Agreement and the role of Bosnia and Herzegovina in efforts to combat climate change. 

Armela next to a purple and green sign that reads "COP26" in large letters.

After two rounds of debate, we won and were sent as youth ambassadors for Bosnia and Herzegovina at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow.

COP26 was an extraordinary opportunity to participate in youth leadership and media engagement activities. I learned more about activism and how climate change affects people with disabilities and mental health issues. I also got the opportunity to see how delegations from other countries are working to address environmental issues.

It was a wonderful experience to see firsthand that we are not facing these challenges alone. The only way to improve the situation is to join forces, no matter how big or small our countries are. Young people need education and a thirst for knowledge (and sharing knowledge!) to help improve the climate crisis, and COP26 provided us with precisely that. Youth must unite in sharing facts and creating innovative solutions.