‘There are more engineers entering politics’

Meet students Julia Rozenberg and Fenna Timsi who hope to give young people a voice through the UN Youth Representative programme.

Each campaigning for the UN Youth Representative programme, TU Delft students Julia Rozenberg (left) and Fenna Timsi hope to be change-makers as well as to inspire other young people. (Photos: Heather Montague)

Julia Rozenberg: 

“I studied Systems Engineering, Policy Analysis and Management at the Faculty of Technology, Policy & Management. I’m almost done and at the same time I’m doing a pre-master’s for Environmental Engineering at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences.

I’m campaigning to be a UN Youth Representative in the Netherlands. The idea is to get young Dutch people more involved with the UN and Dutch politics and also give them more of a voice within these organisations. Young people have the future but they don’t have the votes so this is a way to give them more of a voice within these very big organisations on topics that are important to young people as well.

I’m hoping to become a youth representative on the topic of sustainable development which is a big topic amongst a lot of young people right now. I don’t know anyone who is not thinking about it at the moment, either in a positive or negative way. If I get elected, I will get to join the Dutch delegation going to the UN Climate Change Conference. I will also talk to Dutch politicians about what young people think should happen on this topic.

The reason I would like to do this is that I see there is a lot of innovation and creativity at TU Delft around solving a lot of issues, but it’s also human creativity and innovation that have created the climate crisis. I think this creativity can play a really big role in solving a lot of the problems ahead and making the world a better place. That’s something I would really like to be involved with because I see so many bright young people who are full of ideas and I would like to enable them to put these ideas to good use and come up with solutions that can actually be used.

‘Students from other universities seem to be a bit more interested in politics than people at TU Delft’

Using human creativity as a solution is a very big point for me, but also using technology. And the measures going forward for climate change should be decided on and implemented in an inclusive way. I don’t mean just for people in the Netherlands, but for people around the world. If we look at the countries that are currently hit hardest by climate change, they don’t emit as much greenhouse gases or pollution. I believe this isn’t really fair. I’m also a big believer that the Netherlands should take more responsibility in our role as an industrialised country, and we should help countries that haven’t gotten there yet.

I have some friends that study at different universities, for example in Leiden and Amsterdam. I’ve noticed that they and their other fellow students seem to be a bit more interested in politics than people at TU Delft. I’ve always been quite interested in politics and history and I also really like technical stuff. That’s something I would like to inspire in TU Delft students because when you’re talking about an issue such as climate change, inherently a very technical issue, you need people from the policy side and history side and sociology side as well as engineers. I see this change happening, that there are more engineers entering politics and I think that’s a development that should keep going.”

Fenna Timsi:

“I’m doing a bachelor’s in Applied Physics at the Faculty of Applied Sciences and I’m currently working on my thesis on sustainable alternatives for cooling methods. I’m interested in ways physics may contribute to humanity, to more fairness for all of us. Like me, a lot of students at TU Delft are devoted to finding innovative solutions to the problems young people will face in the future.

I want to represent the Dutch youth on the topic of human rights and security. Everybody has a right to grow up in a safe environment with equal rights whoever you are. I always had a very strong sense of justice. I’m half Algerian and half Dutch and I think because of this biculturality I always had to switch perspectives. Because you live in two different worlds, I think you can really see who is being left out of those worlds. This kind of grew and when I wanted to do something with this feeling there weren’t really ways to express it, ways of actually being heard. I think institutions often tend to show that they’re doing something with youth participation but it’s not in a structured way.

The challenges that we’re facing as humankind right now, with climate change, increasing inequalities, the energy transition, and wars, we need the input of young people. We, the youth, will face the burdens, so we must have a say in finding solutions. I think it’s also important that we use the potential of young people and their ideas, because we can’t tackle these challenges without them. I think it’s about time to start a youth summit. A summit where the international youth discuss the problems they face and share ideas on solutions so that we are not at the mercy of the generations before us but determine the direction of our future ourselves.

‘We, the youth, will face the burdens, so we must have a say in finding solutions’

What I really want to focus on is being as inclusive as possible. I don’t like excluding people. I look for the commonalities and it is precisely the people who are sometimes excluded who can make a tremendous contribution. I would like to invite these people. I want to focus on including people that feel like they’re not being heard yet. I think for this you also have to give a lot of young people the resources to participate. I have been involved in other things, for example the Let’s Talk about YES campaign by Amnesty International (in Dutch). At Amnesty I saw that a lot of people are just waiting for something to participate in. Everyone has something that they are passionate about but sometimes they need help to get involved. This is our generation; we really want to change things but we have to help people get involved.

I know that I want to change the way things are going and I really want to mobilise as many young people as I can through this. I saw for myself how much it helped to be involved in something, in finding my voice, my worth, to stand up for things that I think are or aren’t right. I really want people to know that there is something like this, a position for young people, somebody willing to devote their time, to listen to people about what should change.”

Voting is open between 6-13 October and anyone under 30 years of age living in the Netherlands is eligible. It is possible to vote in more than one category so voting for both Fenna & Julia is possible (in Dutch).

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Heather Montague / Freelance writer

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