Introducing the Young Justice Leaders!

At the request of the UN Secretary-General, a group of young people called the Next Generation Fellows, prepared the Our Future Agenda report. In it, the Next Generation Fellows identified “providing justice for young people” as one of the transformative shifts that need to take place to unleash a new generation.

Global debates about our future must be more inclusive of young people, providing spaces that more authentically engage young voices and support their expertise being utilized in research, policy-making, and high-level events.

We are therefore excited to announce the first ever cohort of Young Justice Leaders! This group represents all regions, diverse areas of expertise and a variety of backgrounds. All these young leaders share a belief in people-centered justice and have demonstrated a commitment to realizing justice for all.

Why now?

“Young people must be at the table — as designers of their own future, not as recipients of decisions of elders who have, let’s be honest, failed them in so many key respects.” Priorities for 2021, UN Secretary-General

Since the publication of the Justice for All report, the world has changed profoundly. The COVID-19 pandemic and its continuing effects have highlighted longstanding systemic injustices experienced across the globe.

As the pandemic continues, leaders across the globe have increasingly called for action on justice for all, and with that call, has come a reinvigorated discussion about the importance of the authentic engagement of younger generations.

Young people, this is our moment!

The Young Justice Leaders brings together leaders who happen to be young and working for justice. The group is comprised of change makers, bringing a people-centered focus in their respective work and fields to meet justice needs.

Seizing the current moment, the cohort will focus on influencing the SDG Summit in 2023 — a space to engage and contribute to international dialogue and research specifically around justice. The goal of the group is to facilitate collaboration, build networks, and contribute to the global policy dialogue around justice for all — demonstrating that people-centered justice is possible and necessary.

Introducing the Young Justice Leaders!

Amoding Agnes Cynthia, Uganda, she/her

Amoding Agnes Cynthia is a 24 year old lawyer currently enrolled at the Law Development Centre studying the bar course in Uganda. She recently completed her Law Degree at Makerere University, and was a Next Generation Fellow at the United Nations Foundation who was invited by the UN Secretary-General to be a consultant for Our Common Agenda and Our Future Agenda.

Cynthia is a feminist leader who has served as Guild Representative Councillor for Students with disability at Makerere University in the 85th Guild and currently the Deputy Chairperson at the Mastercard foundation alumni at Brac Uganda.

She is a Philanthropist, Founder, and Director of a youth led organization Focus on The African Child (FOAC) focusing on empowering girls in school through avoiding Teenage Pregnancies and teaching how to make Reusable Sanitary Towels and enhance proper menstrual hygiene management.

She is a social Justice activist who has volunteered with legal aid service providers Organisations like Justice Centres Uganda, Legal Aid Service Providers Network, and Public Interest Law Clinic Makerere among others. While at PILAC, Cynthia was awarded with an accolade as the most outstanding volunteer in the dispensation of social justice in the year 2019/2020.

Find Cynthia on Twitter at: @AgnesCynthia97 and LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/agnes-cynthia-amoding-089668199/

Gülşen Güler, United Kingdom, she/her

Gülşen Güler is a UK based researcher and data literacy consultant who examines and reimagines the relationship between data, justice, society and power. Gülşen is a trained social worker and her interest in data stems from her experience working in the criminal justice system . She witnessed the limitations and embedded biases in digital reporting systems as well as the real-world harm these have caused. Her lived experiences in this field inspired her to pursue a master’s degree in communication studies where she specifically focused on data literacy and digital inclusion. Through her research, she brings an intersectional approach to data literacy to dismantle techno-deterministic narratives and challenge the dogmatic perceptions around data. Her work is informed by intersectional feminism, situated learning, and sociotechnical imaginaries. Gülşen was the 2021 UK delegate for Inclusive Digital Innovation and listed as a Data Changemaker for her outstanding work in the field.

Find Gülşen on Twitter at: @GulsenGulerdl; LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gulsenguler; Medium: https://medium.com/@gulsenguler

Iliana Pujols, United States, she/her

As the current Policy Director of the Connecticut Justice Alliance, Iliana began her work with the Alliance in late 2017 as one of the founding members of their youth-adult partnership model, Justice Advisors. In July of 2018, Iliana joined the full-time staff of the Alliance and has since played a critical role in recruiting, training and supporting the Justice Advisors as well as determining the policies and practices of the organization’s work.

Iliana is a 2017–2019 Youth First Initiative’s Youth Leaders Network Alum, a 2019 CT Public Allies Alum, a 2019–2021 Annie E Casey Foundation Youth Advisory Council Alum and a 2021 World Congress on Justice with Children Child and Youth Advisory Group Alum. She works as a Youth Consultant with the American Youth Policy Forum and is a full-time student pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

She is a frequent panelist for national organizations, speaking to her expertise around youth and young adult partnership and advocacy based on her personal experiences and professional success.

Find Iliana on Twitter: @ilianap_; Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/iliana-pujols-0243a0167/

Kelechi Achinonu, Nigeria, she/her

Kelechi Achinonu is a Nigerian lawyer who is passionate about the fusion of law and technology to provide access to justice for all. Her work as the Regional Head of The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL), West Africa involves designing and implementing programmes to make justice user-friendly, contributing to HiiL’s mission of ensuring 150 million people are able to resolve their most pressing justice problems by 2030.

She trained as a software engineer and has led product development efforts at the foremost legal-tech company in Nigeria. The products she has built has made it easy for lawyers to have access to digitised law reports and judgements in Nigeria.

She is the founder of Techlawyered; a media-tech platform that advocates for more tech inclusion in law and highlights profiles of builders in the justice ecosystem in Africa. She also leads Legal Hackers Lagos, a global movement of lawyers, policymakers, designers, technologists who develop creative solutions to the most pressing issues at the intersection of law & technology.

Kelechi is passionate about financing justice as it is only when these solutions are well-financed that they can scale to reach millions of people and grow to be sustainable businesses.

Find Kelechi on Twitter: @kc_techlawyer; LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kelechi-achinonu-a67017108/

Shaneel Lal, New Zealand, they/them

Shaneel Shavneel Lal is iTaukei and Indian and identifies as vakasalewalewa and hijra. Lal is the founder of the Conversion Therapy Action Group, a group working to end conversion therapy in Aotearoa New Zealand. Lal is an executive board member of Rainbow Youth and Auckland Pride Festival and a trustee of Adhikaar Aotearoa, a non-profit charity that provides education, support and advocacy for queer South Asians.

Lal has served as an advisor to the New Zealand Minister of Education for three years and has sat on Amnesty International’s Youth Task Force. They have been Global Youth Leader for the Open Government Partnership. Lal is a model, political commentator on queer and indigenous rights issues and a law and psychology student at the University of Auckland. As a writer, Lal focuses on indigenous queerness.

Find Lal on Twitter: @shaneellall; LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shaneel-lal-489190194/

Vino Lucero, Philippines, he/them

Vino Lucero is a journalist and freedom of information (FOI) advocate from the Philippines. They are the Digital Rights and Communications Manager of EngageMedia, an Asia-Pacific non-profit advocating for digital rights, open and secure technology, and video for change. They are a contributing author for the book “Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives” published by Meatspace Press in London, UK back in 2020. They are a fellow for the 2021 GIF-Article 19 Internet of Rights Fellowship, and the national researcher for the Philippines for the 2020–2021 Global Data Barometer.

Vino is a member of the governance circle of Innovation for Change — East Asia, a non-profit organization supporting civil society initiatives in Southeast and Northeast Asia to defend, expand, and create civic spaces in the region. They are serving as part of the board from January 2022 to December 2023.

Find Vino on Twitter: @vinolucero; LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vino-lucero-7165688b

Alisa Jimenez, United States, she/her

Pathfinders for Justice’s Alisa Jimenez is the convener of the Young Justice Leaders. She’s led consultations, partnerships and campaigns alongside partners to build the movement for people-centered justice. She is dedicated to elevating the voices and expertise of those are who are changing justice outcomes and systems for people and communities at the global level.

Please keep an eye out for more to come! The Young Justice Leaders will be seeking opportunities to engage with fellow young people driving change.

Interested in connecting with one of the Young Justice Leaders or the whole group? Please reach out to alisa.jimenez@nyu.edu

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The Pathfinders are a group of member states, international organizations, global partnerships, and other partners working to accelerate delivery of the SDG targets for peace, justice and inclusion (SDG16+). Hosted by the NYU Center on International Cooperation (CIC).

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