Edrieënna Brandao new Chairperson Dutch UNESCO Youth Commission

The 25-year-old Edrieënna Brandao has been elected as Chairperson of the UNESCO Youth Commission in The Netherlands. The coming academic year, she will participate in the Commission together with other young active students. Coming September, the Commission will have their official start.

Education

Edrieënna, or Edrie, as we know her, was born in Curaçao and moved to Statia as a baby. Her maternal family is from Statia where Edrie grew up. After receiving her HAVO diploma in 2012, Edrie returned to Curacao where she received her VWO diploma, learned Papiamentu and was reunited with her paternal family.

Edrie is currently entering into the final year of the bachelor programme ‘Education, Health and Wellbeing’ at de Leiden University of applied science. Additionally, she teaches Social Work at an MBO school and is preparing for a Masters in Pedagogy and Educational sciences.

“My major issue with the current education system is that it doesn’t work for everyone. I hope to make the system more just and thereby work towards creating a society that accurately reflects the interests of all its citizens.”

Black female voices

This passion also motivated her to apply for the UNESCO Youth Commission: “Three people advised me to do so, among which my best friend and WeConnect.” One of the tasks of the Committee members is to teach students in secondary and higher education about social issues and to empower them to let their voices be heard.

Racial equality is also one of the topics that Edrie feels strongly about. “Women have an essential role within black and Afro-Caribbean communities, and it is therefore very important that our voices are heard and well-represented in conversations about topics like the Black Lives Matter movement.”

She emphasizes that the role of UNESCO in social issues is to foster productive and empathic dialogue around these topics but also feels that “We shouldn’t just talk, let’s put our words into action.”

Voice of the islands

Edrie wants the voice of the citizens of the Caribbean part of the Kingdom to be included. “I believe that the commission should also echoes the voice of Caribbean Youth.”

Students of Afro-Caribbean heritage living here in the Netherlands are curious about topics like July 1st being recognized as an official holiday on the islands and are growing increasingly concerned by the fact that a lot of official information in the Kingdom is offered predominantly in Dutch.

Edrie hopes that these topics will also be given attention as culture and communication & media are part of UNESCO’s portfolio. 

Group picture of the Youth Commission (Old and New) (Edrieënna with the orange dress, on the left).