App State student takes home outstanding delegate award at UN Youth Assembly


Photo courtesy of Razan Alaqil

Sophomore Saudi Arabian United Nations Youth Delegate Razan Alaqil attended the the summer United Nations Youth Assembly August 6th-16th. The assembly took place in NY, NJ and DC. Alaqil was 1 out of 5 who won the Outstanding Youth Delegate Award. Alaqil is also an Appalachian Student Ambassador and is President of the Muslim Student Association.

Halie Hamilton

Razan Alaqil, an Appalachian State sophomore political science major, was the first Saudi Arabian female to participate in the United Nations Youth Assembly and the first Saudi Arabian to win the Outstanding Delegate Award.

The assembly took place from Aug. 6-16 in New Jersey, New York and DC.

Alaqil signed up online in February and attended the Winter Youth Assembly of 2016. The Youth Assembly is held twice a year, once in the winter and once in the summer.

The award was given based off an application, an interview and observations throughout the week. Five people went home with this award out of 1,000 people from 85 different countries. Alaqil had one of the two highest scores.

“This is an accomplishment not only for myself, but for the youth of my country, especially because half of our population is people under the age of 30 right now,” Alaqil said. “I always look for opportunities to represent my country, so the United Nations Youth Assembly was open to leading youth across the whole world to represent their countries as delegates.”

Alaqil is also the diversity recruitment coordinator for the Appalachian Student Ambassadors, the president of the Muslim Student Association and is on the Chancellor’s Board of Diversity Recruitment and Attention.

“Personally I know Razan to be passionate, dedicated and a kind friend to all she meets,” Ellie Hooper, president of Appalachian Student Ambassadors, said. “In a world with few women leaders, Razan is an inspiration to me and all who have the opportunity to simply have coffee with her.”

Hopper said Razan serves as the link between the Chancellor’s Student Advisory Board for Diversity Recruitment and The Student Ambassador organization, she works tirelessly to assist University Admissions as they recruit diverse students to Appalachian.

“Every new position I take on adds something new to my personality, more experience, more confidence in talking to people, more stories to tell,” Alaqil said. “The positions that we hold make us stronger in many different aspects.”

At the assembly, Alaqil said she spoke about Saudi Arabia’s initiatives to reduce the negative impact of oil on the environment and mitigate the effects of global climate change.

Alaqil said she spoke about the Vision 2030 initiative that was launched in Saudi Arabia to start looking towards the future with more ideas for the economy and about the sustainability efforts here at Appalachian State. Vision 2030 will focus on implementing all of the 17 goals which were presented at the assembly by partnering with the public and private sectors where the workforce will be led by the youth.

“It has always been a dream, a personal dream, which is now a country-wide dream so if I can inspire others with what I do then why not keep going?” Alaqil said.

Alaqil said that currently they are working to engage the Saudi Arabian youth in setting sustainability goals.

“I noticed a lack of knowledge regarding the Saudi or Middle Eastern or Islamic culture in general so I want to be that face or I want to be that person who people go to and ask because I am the true reflection of 1.5 million people, not what you see on TV,” Alaqil said. “Our differences in the world don’t push us apart, our differences in the world pull us together for the good.”