Young persons and student representatives from various institutions across the Caribbean received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity today to directly engage with United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.

The event, entitled Caribbean Youth Speak: The World We Want Post-2015, was held in the Walcott Warner Theatre of the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus.

In his address, Mr. Ban said that interacting with young people was one of his top priorities, and he encouraged them to ???raise their voices??? because they had a very important role to play in building a sustainable world.

???You must challenge your present prime ministers, ministers, professors and business leaders and tell them: ???this is my world; this is the place you and my succeeding generation would have to live in; preserve this Earth in a sustainable way???,??? he asserted.

He also urged them to follow their dreams and to look beyond the Caribbean, as there were many opportunities and many things they would see differently.

???There is no guarantee that your big dreams will be met??? but if you never try your dream you never will be able to achieve it. Therefore, put your head above the clouds and put your feet on the ground… that means to have a big dream, but be practical,??? Mr. Ban suggested.

The floor was then opened to questions from many of the young people present, including students from UWI, St. Augustine in Trinidad, and the Mona Campus in Jamaica, who participated via Skype. The topics discussed included global challenges such as climate change, rising sea level, poverty eradication and gender equality.

UWI Vice Chancellor, Sir Hilary Beckles, thanked Mr. Ban for making the trip to the Caribbean, and said that it was an honour for him to be present to give some guidance and encouragement to the young persons of the Caribbean.

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