No millennial monolith as Gen Y leaders rise at UN

A young president at the U.N. General Assembly touted millennial status symbols like coffee, outdoor adventure and Bitcoin. Another admitted in front of the famous green marble that it was harder to govern a country than to protest in its streets. A foreign minister, once shunned for having only a bachelor’s degree, warned against indifference.

Shaped by the borderless internet, growing economic inequality and an increasingly dire climate crisis, the Generation Y cohort of presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers and other “excellencies” is making their mark at the largest gathering of world leaders.

This week at the United Nations offers a glimpse of the latest generation of leaders in power, as a critical mass of them – born generally between 1981 and 1996 – are coming to represent countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Some millennial leaders were making their debuts at the 77-year-old diplomatic institution built in the aftermath of WWII, while there were other notables who didn’t show up but had already arrived on the world stage. Those include Kim Jong Un, who took over the reclusive North Korea in his 20s, and the 36-year-old Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, who faced controversy recently for a video of her dancing at a private party that went viral.

Jennifer Sciubba, an author and political demographer affiliated with the Wilson Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, said many came into power buoyed by their generation’s disaffection for the status quo, and in that sense millennials and baby boomers are echoes of each other. One stark difference: Life by most measures was getting better after WWII, yet many young people today don’t harbor the same hope.

“A mistake would be to say, ‘Younger generations, they’re more liberal,’ and therefore we’ll see a turn to the left as these people come to the age of influence,” Sciubba said “They’re not monolithic. Dissatisfaction with the status quo — it can show up on either end of the political spectrum.”

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Sciubba also noted that it was merely a matter of time before the millennials took their place in the world order. She said the definition of generations are “arbitrary, shorthand for us to understand people.” That’s a truth evident on the UN stage, where differing ideologies from the same Gen Y were on full display.

On Tuesday during the first day of the General Assembly, two young presidents shattered that myth of the millennial monolith when they spoke of their contrasting plights.

There was the 36-year-old president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, who used his air time to lick his wounds after citizens overwhelmingly rejected a new progressive constitution he had championed.

“As a young person who was on the street protesting not very long ago, I can tell you that representing unrest is a lot easier than producing solutions,” Boric said.

The failed proposal was set to replace a dictatorship-era constitution with a new charter that would have fundamentally changed the country to include gender equality, environmental protections and Indigenous rights. The stinging loss was not unexpected, with supporters blaming misinformation online …read more

Source:: Headlines News4jax

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