An ‘epic’ experience

Anna Kellogg participates in United Nations

Previous Next

This event was held Oct. 28 to 30 in Baku, Azerbaijan, and was hosted by its government's ministry of youth and sports. The three-day forum was the first event of its kind and included youth ministers, youth policy leaders and professionals. The event was convened by a partnership between the United Nations Development Programme; Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; and the Council of Europe. Currently, 122 countries have current youth policies, and another 36 are going through an update process. For more information, visit www.youthpolicyforum.org.

This event was held Oct. 28 to 30 in Baku, Azerbaijan, and was hosted by its government’s ministry of youth and sports. The three-day forum was the first event of its kind and included youth ministers, youth policy leaders and professionals. The event was convened by a partnership between the United Nations Development Programme; Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; and the Council of Europe. Currently, 122 countries have current youth policies, and another 36 are going through an update process. For more information, visit www.youthpolicyforum.org.

A 2013 Washougal High School graduate recently found herself among policy makers and youth leaders from all over the world, after being chosen to participate in a global forum in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Kellogg, 19 and a student at Clark College, was one of only three delegates selected from the United States for the United Nation’s First Global Forum on Youth Policies.

There were more than 5,000 applicants from across the world. Of those, 200 made the final cut for the all-expenses paid trip.

The forum was held to celebrate the progress of youth policies developed in 1995 by the World Programme of Action For Youth, and to see what could be done to improve the scope and impact of the work.

“I am very interested in foreign policy and this looked like an amazing opportunity,” Kellogg said. “My parents raised me to be humble and to give back, plus I love to travel and volunteer.”

Kellogg got her start by being a STAR mentor in high school, helping freshmen acclimate to their new environment. She also served at the Portland Rescue Mission and Share House in Vancouver. She has also participated in The Cascade Climate Challenge Program, a youth backpacking and stewardship program based in Bellingham.

After returning, Kellogg and students from Columbia River High School in Vancouver conducted a series of classroom outreach talks. This motivated her to apply for the State Farm Youth Advisory Board, which gives away grants to fund student-led service learning initiatives.

She has served on the board for two years.

However, Kellogg noted that the adventures which really made the greatest impact on her were service trips through the local Interact Club to Biloxi, Miss., and Zion Lutheran Church to south-central Los Angeles and Costa Rica.

“I was finally in direct contact with people struggling to get out of poverty,” she said. “It really opened my eyes to what accessibility is, and how scarce resources really are. From there, I knew I wanted to help people, give back and travel.”

Bree Truax, youth and family minister at Zion Lutheran Church in Camas, describes Kellogg as “highly motivated.”

“She is able to dive into experiences and cultures to gain new understanding and building relational bridges over time and space,” she said. “It is super exciting to see Anna continue to use her gifts to make the world a better place.”

Within youth policy, Kellogg is particularly interested in higher education reform, environmental issues and gender equality.

“I met with panels of youth delegates to discuss those and other issues impacting us,” she said. “I sat in on discussions from the Caribbean Youth Council and made friends with people from all over the world.”

In addition to the 200 delegates, approximately 500 officials from 135 governments attended.

“I really enjoyed connecting with people,” Kellogg said. “There were some fabulous speakers. I took 30 pages of notes while I was there. Through that conference, I am even more connected to youth organizations.”

Some of the topics covered during the forum included youth policies globally, achievements and successes, common denominators in youth policy, guiding principles and regional needs. In addition to the more serious parts of the global forum, Kellogg also had some lighthearted moments.

“One night we went out to Old Town Baku and there were 10 or 15 of us scampering around the cobblestone streets at 2 a.m.,” she recalled. “It was very beautiful and peaceful. We also sampled local food.”

Kellogg’s favorite aspect of the trip is the connections she’s made.

“My Facebook book friend group has expanded quite a bit,” she said. “I think my favorite part was introducing myself to other delegates and getting to know them all better.”

Since returning at the end of October, Kellogg gave a presentation about her experience at Clark College during International Week and is getting even more connected to youth organizations.

“This experience was enlightening,” she said. “I am very galvanized and am pursuing this line of work even more. The trip was just epic.”

Please review our community guidelines