Egyptian sprinter Bassant Hemida appointed ambassador for UN-sponsored Shabab Balad initiative

Ahram Online , Tuesday 23 Aug 2022

The United Nations on Monday named Egyptian sprinter Bassant Hemida as an ambassador for the country’s Shabab Balad (“Country’s Youth”) initiative, which is part of the UN’s Generation Unlimited (GenU) global initiative, a UN statement said Tuesday.

Bassant Hemida
Egypt s sprinter Bassant Hemida


Hemida made history at the 2022 Mediterranean Games in Oran, Algeria, becoming the first Egyptian to ever win gold in the 100m sprint. She went on to claim her second gold medal in the 200m sprint. 

Hemida, who missed the 2020 Tokyo Olympics due to an injury and who reached the semis of the World Athletics Championship in 2019, set a new Mediterranean Games record by running the 200m in 22.47 seconds, erasing the previous mark set by France’s Christine Aroun’s in 1997 in Bari.

"It is a great honour to have a role in a global initiative for youth in Egypt, that makes them a priority and helps them develop their skills, achieve their ambitions and positively participate in society," said Hemida.

In her new role, Hemida will promote education, training, skilling and entrepreneurship for Egyptian youth to prepare them for job opportunities.

The Shabab Balad initiative is the Egyptian version of UNICEF’s GenU global initiative, which was launched by the UN in 2018 and operates in over 50 countries worldwide.

GenU is the world’s first public-private-youth partnership (PPYP) aiming to skill and connect all of the world’s 1.8 billion young people aged 10-24 to opportunities for employment, entrepreneurship, and positive social impact by 2030

The number young people of both genders in this age range in Egypt is 28 million, or about 27 percent of the population.

This goal is also in line with Egypt Vision 2030, a national agenda that reflects the government’s long-term strategic plan to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The nomination ceremony was attended by the UNICEF Representative in Egypt Jeremy Hopkins, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative in Egypt Frederika Meijer, the Partnerships and Generation Unlimited Lead at United Nations Ghada Makday and the representatives of several UN organisations in Egypt.

"Raising awareness of the initiative requires the solidarity of various parties in society, especially the voices inspiring the young people. We are pleased to have the champion sprinter Bassant Hemida join Shabab Balad initiative and [we are] looking to have more influencers and opinion leaders joining to help get the message delivered,” Hopkins said.

Shabab Balad was successfully launched during the World Youth Forum held in Sharm El-Sheikh last January under the auspices of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. 

In April, the initiative appointed the young Egyptian actor Ahmed Dash as an ambassador, inviting him to participate in a live broadcast on solid waste management and its relationship to climate change.

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