The biggest question I have received this summer (besides can I come visit you) is what in the world is the HLPF?

It’s a good question; I didn’t even know when I first decided on my Cooperative Baptist Fellowship global advocacy internship at Metro Baptist Church in New York City.

So, I am here to explain it in normal terms – that way we won’t be bogged down with political and academic jargon.

So, what’s the HLPF? The High-Level Political Forum is a conference held at the United Nations for NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) to meet and discuss the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which replaced the Millennium Development Goals after 2015.

This summer they are discussing goals 4, 10, 13, 16 and 17. You can find out more about the SDGs, a global call to action to ensure everyone can enjoy peace and prosperity, and what they mean here.

Voluntary National Review Countries are countries that are reviewing their SDGs for the year; every member state is encouraged to review their progress. This year there are 47 countries reviewing, including seven for a second time.

My role this summer is helping with an event focusing on how NGOs, particularly pertaining to human rights, are putting the goals and the work of the SDGs into action.

And this is where things get really exciting for me, not only am I helping administrate an awesome event, but the people who will be there are doing incredible and powerful work all around the world.

It may be a lot of emails and meetings and coordinating, but the end result is the best part.

It’s easy to think that the U.N. is nothing but meetings, people talking and arguing, and there are no conclusive results.

While this can be true from time to time, so much incredible work goes on in the world, highlighting the issues of free press, climate change, access to resources, human trafficking and so much more.

The HLPF, especially the event I am a part of, allows people the platform to educate others on their work, to build ideas to continue to strive toward the SDGs and to share knowledge and expertise.

Working for the U.N., in any capacity, has always been a long-term dream of mine, and I could not be more blessed with this opportunity.

In the coming weeks, most of my days will be spent at meetings discussing everything from progress in the SDGs, gender equality, debriefings and (hopefully) meeting some inspiring people.

Though sometimes all the meetings and emails may seem excessive, I’m excited for what’s in store for the weeks to come.

Editor’s note: This article is part of a series focused on engaging the emerging generations of faith leaders. Learn more about’s “Emerging Voices” and “U:21” series here.

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