I got to know Ana as a dedicated young woman, committed to advance youth participation. In the past years she's showed great leadership skills through managing the youth organisation, YouAct. In her position as Coordinator I’ve come to known Ana as an analytical person, always creating an enabling and empowering environment. I am convinced that Miss Rizescu will prove herself indispensable in the position as Youth Envoy, just she has been to YouAct over the past years.
Lewis Emmerton, UK
Ana is a passionate advocate for the rights of young people everywhere, and I am confident that as Envoy she will ensure that no young person is left behind. With her vast experience coordinating youth movements at the regional and international level and with a drive to ensure that young people at the grassroots level are supported and empowered to claim and exercise their rights - I stand resolute that Ana will be an asset to the United Nations as the Secretary General`s next special Envoy on Youth.
Michelle Sahal Estimé, Finland
Ana is one of the most passionate and inspired people I know. She has worked relentlessly for young people her entire life and will surely continue to always do so. She is a strategic thinker, good networker and a strong leader and I know that she would become a great asset to the global community in the Youth Envoy role.
Camila Ochoa Mendoza, Spain
Ana has inspired me since the very start of my work with YouAct, which happens to be my first experience with SRHR. She is extremely supportive, always very aware of all her team members and ready to provide assistance and support whenever needed. She has also shown to be extremely resilient, persevering even when things get very difficult, and remaining positive throughout it all.
I am currently serving as the Executive Coordinator of YouAct, the European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights.
My experience encompasses more than ten years of volunteering and work focusing on youth participation, health, and rights. I have developed myself as a young professional on youth development while working as Youth Consultant for the UNFPA Eastern Europe Central Asia Regional Office in Turkey, as International Coordinator of Y-PEER, Youth Peer Education Network, as an International Fellow at the Peer Education and Research Institute in Bulgaria, as Youth Focal Point for Y-PEER and Peer Educator at the Youth for Youth Foundation in Romania.
I have an MA on Development, International Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid and a BA in Communication and Public Relations from the University of Political and Administrative Sciences in Bucharest.
I am a 28 years old Romanian national, I speak Romanian and English fluently and I have intermediate knowledge of French and Italian.
I started my involvement in civil society when I was 15 years old as a volunteer of the Youth for Youth Foundation, a National NGO part of the International Y-PEER Network, working in the area of youth health and rights. I was trained as a peer educator and have since been involved in organizing and conducting many workshops and outreach activities. My commitment at country level led me to be selected among my peers as representative in several international capacity building events and conferences, which further broadened my knowledge and experience. During my time as one of the elected Y-PEER Network Coordinators, I collaborated with members and partners from Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Arab States and Asia Pacific. With YouAct, as Executive Coordinator, I am currently working with youth from 16 different Council of Europe member states. The core of my work approach is to ensure the active involvement of youth organizations and individuals from around the globe.
I became a volunteer peer educator on youth sexual and reproductive rights when I was 15 years old and gradually discovered the meaning of youth empowerment, youth rights, civic education and the concept of participation.
Currently, I am the Executive Coordinator of YouAct, a youth-led organization that connects youth activists, engaged as volunteers, from across Council of Europe member states, from Georgia to Ireland and from Cyprus to Sweden. I play a key role in ensuring an international, dynamic and unique environment, where young people are stimulated and supported to build their capacity, leadership and participation in decision making processes. Along with my current role, I continue to be a passionate advocate for youth participation and strongly believe that meaningful participation means engaging young people as valuable partners, from start to finish, not only as recipients.
Building on my volunteering at the national level, by working in multinational and multicultural environments I have gained strong abilities in establishing and maintaining constructive working relations with key supporters, partners and donors. The variety of stakeholders includes national, regional and international entities, among which are the UNFPA Regional and Country Offices, EuroNGOs, the European NGOs for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Population and Development and numerous youth organizations from various countries across Europe, Central Asia as well as the Arab States and Asia-Pacific regions. I also served as a member in several UNFPA HQ and Regional Working Groups, Steering Committees and Panels and provided recommendations on the strategic opportunities and actions to address youth issues. I have mastered my communication, international development and international relations knowledge, while demonstrating political acumen.
I would like to highlight my experience on initiating and facilitating multi-stakeholder dialogues as a Regional Youth Forum Coordinator, where I worked closely with a youth leadership group to establish a participatory process for developing joint youth priorities and vision. The contributions were then conveyed into a Call to Action that was presented at the high-level regional conference “Enabling Choices: Population Priorities for the 21st Century”, organized within the framework of the global ICPD beyond 2014 review.
Another example is the strategic partnership I built during my role as Youth Consultant for the UNFPA Regional Office. The partnership brought together 80 organizations from 23 countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia to engage in advocacy and communication activities in order to highlight regional youth priorities for the post-2015 development agenda.
I have extensive experience in developing and implementing youth development programmes which are mainly focused on communications and advocacy. I am a certified trainer on youth advocacy and in my role as Executive Coordinator of YouAct, I support young people in advocating for their sexual reproductive health and rights in Europe and beyond.
Throughout my volunteer and professional engagement with youth-led and youth-serving civil society organizations and UNFPA, I have proven to be a dedicated youth advocate, committed to a human rights-based approach and to ensuring meaningful youth participation through my work. I have a proven track record of providing technical support by conducting research and analysis, developing thematic briefings, advocacy messages, statements and press releases. Few specific examples of my advocacy work include the UNECE Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (2017, Geneva), Intergovernmental negotiations on the SDGs (2015, NY), Global Youth Forum (2012, Bali), High-Level Meeting on Youth (2011, NY).
In different roles, I have supported youth members engagement in various international processes and joined fellow civil society advocates at the Intergovernmental Negotiating Sessions for the new development agenda, various meeting convened by UN Agencies, in particular related to the ICPD review as well as to the SG’s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent’s Health “Every Woman Every Child”.
I supported youth engagement and the development of advocacy strategies for the Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security (2015, Amman) and the World Humanitarian Summit (2016, Istanbul) through online communication platforms. I facilitated youth participation in online consultations and the selection of youth nominees working in humanitarian settings from Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The youth group I worked with included volunteers of the Red Cross in Bosnia and Herzegovina, youth involved in preventing violent extremism and organizing the first Central Asian Youth Forum on Peace building and Security and young women displaced by the conflict in Ukraine.
In my work with YouAct, I have supported member’s participation in a EuroNGOs workshop on Advocating for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Humanitarian Responses, aiming to strategize around potential partners, targets and spaces for advocacy and explore future policy influencing and action.
As YouAct's Executive Coordinator, I am in charge of the general planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the network's activities. I work closely with the organization’s Steering Committee, which consists of 5 members. YouAct is entirely led by young people (all staff and members are aged between 18-28 years old), and therefore, is an example of successful youth leadership and meaningful youth participation. The organization allows for brainstorming and collaboration between youth advocates from across Council of Europe member states and I play a key role in facilitating and supporting member engagement and fostering cooperation based on various backgrounds and experiences.
Through my work, I am able to explore various team dynamics, build partnerships, manage and coordinate various activities, while upgrading my communication and teamwork skills. I have a proven track record of working extensively with multiple members and partners, while ensuring proper communication, knowledge transfer and consultation among different stakeholders.
As a young person with first-hand experience in working for sexual and reproductive health and rights and youth empowerment and participation, I have a keen eye on alliance building and resource mobilization. I have been in charge of developing concept notes and grant proposals of different sizes, thematic research and analytical pieces, using evidence-based arguments and theories of change. My previous roles and my current role as YouAct’s Executive Coordinator includes responsibilities related to budget development and management, monitoring and evaluation of youth-led projects and preparing project reports. Specific examples of successful resource mobilization initiatives include mobilizing funding from the European Youth Foundation and the UNFPA Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office. I have a proven track record of working extensively with multiple partners, with a high commitment to fostering strong partnerships and advancing the youth agenda.
Having an undergraduate degree in Communication and Public Relations gave me a solid foundation that I have applied throughout my work, particularly in communication and advocacy campaigns. I have a proven track record of planning and implementing online initiatives, consulting youth constituencies, documenting best practices, writing blog posts, articles and press releases. I have been in charge of collecting inputs from young people, editing and publishing regular highlights on websites and social media channels. I have demonstrated being highly skilful in reaching out and engaging multiple partners and mobilizing activists and organizations to join and follow events and campaigns. The extent of my experience has enabled me to interact comfortably through online platforms when coordinating global initiatives as well as providing guidance and adequate support to members from various countries.
As a young person with first-hand experience in working for sexual and reproductive health and rights and youth empowerment and participation, I am determined to continue advocating for sensitive issues.
I became a volunteer during post-communist transition times, when my community still had limited knowledge and understanding of youth rights, participation had political and negative connotations and sex and sexuality were generally taboo. I was lucky to be able to develop strong analytical thinking and leadership skills. I grew from a peer educator to a youth advocate, from a volunteer to a young professional. In all this time, I understood and learned how to tackle the challenges of advocating for sensitive issues, such as young people’s sexual and reproductive rights. Knowing that gender-based violence is still widespread, homophobic and transphobic attitudes persist, access to sexual and reproductive health services and commodities is limited, I understand the sensitivities that can arise and I am committed to a human rights-based approach in ensuring meaningful youth participation through my work.
If you want to get in touch, email me at ana(at)youact.org.
If you want to endorse my nomination for the UN SG Envoy on Youth role, fill in this online form by the 17th of May.
YouAct is a European network of young people, who are active in the field of Sexual and Reproductive Rights. Since its launch in Lisbon 2004, YouAct has grown into a widely recognized youth organisation, undertaking key advocacy, training and awareness raising activities on national, European and International levels.