Lope De Vega High School Student Address the UN in New York

Donnady Coquila Lao, a high school senior of Lope de Vega High School in Lope de Vega, Northern Samar, was chosen to represent the Philippines at the 54th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York, USA. Donnady Coquila Lao had a full schedule at the side events leading to the UN gathering.

Her first activity upon arriving in New York was to be interviewed by journalists from Finland. The interview focused on her being on the same panel with a Finnish Minister at an event of the United Nations Education and Children’s Fund (Unicef). Lao then attended the Plan Philippines side event dubbed "Universal Day of the Girl" along with two other girls from Canada. The girl-led interactive event called for a universal day of girls so that their concerns will "permanently be on the agenda of duty bearers in every country."

Donnady Lao then spoke at the Unicef side event entitled "Making Women Remember Girls. In the event, Donnady Lao spoke about her experiences as a girl and as a young person actively engaged in promoting girls’ rights in Lope De Vega and the Philippines. She delivered this in a panel with such internationally renowned personalities as former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson.

Other prominent attendees at the Unicef side session were, Charlotte Bunch, founding director and senior scholar at the Women’s Global Leadership, Rutgers University and Audun Lysbakken, Minister of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion of Norway.

Donnady Coquila Lao then gave a two-minute speech at the UN reception after the 54th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Lao spoke on how additional resources being allocated by the UN Foundation for Adolescent Girls can impact on her and other adolescent girls in the Philippines and her thoughts on her participation as an adolescent to an important meeting such as the Commission on the Status of Women. Lao sat in the panel with UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon.

On her last event, Lao was at the Daily Beast (online magazine) Summit where she was interviewed by Queen Rania, wife of King Abdullah of Jordan. On the same event, a "Girlafesto" was read by a group of girls from New York and Lao read the last important line of the manifesto.

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