Youth Advocacy and Engagement: A Personal Journey

In the bustling landscape of Timor-Leste, Marciano Lopes Zemecas, a second-year Law student at the National University of Timor-Leste, stands as a fervent advocate for social change and justice. His journey into the realm of youth advocacy not only showcases his passion but also underscores his commitment to creating a positive impact in the community.

Marciano’s passion for social issues, including human rights, justice, and good governance, ignited his involvement in various volunteering activities. His dedication translated to significant contributions to organizations such as Timor-Leste Youth for Peace, Millennial Change Maker, and Uma Amerika. These experiences not only broadened his perspective but also fueled his desire to create meaningful change.

Recognizing the need for sustained efforts, Marciano took a bold step by founding the Timor-Leste Human Rights Defenders Movement. Functioning as a stronghold against discrimination targeting vulnerable groups in marginalized communities, the organization, under Marciano’s leadership, has become a beacon of hope tirelessly working to eliminate discrimination and cultivate a more inclusive society.

Marciano’s exceptional contributions did not go unnoticed. In 2020, he earned the title of the first winner of the Dili Institute of Technology Model Icon, securing the prestigious role of a youth ambassador. His journey continued with participation in the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), where he underwent a five-week leadership program in the United States, attended the YSEALI Game Changers regional workshop in Malaysia, and contributed to the Global Millennial United Nations on gender-based violence. Additionally, he served as a researcher for Digital for Youth with the Asia Foundation in Timor-Leste. Currently, he stands as the newest and sole representative from Timor-Leste participating in the 2024 LeadNext Fellowship Program, holding the esteemed title of The Global Ambassador for the Future. 

Marciano’s commitment to youth advocacy goes beyond organizational roles. By sharing his personal experiences and insights, he aims to inspire others to embark on their own journeys of change. Through engaging and relatable storytelling, he strives to establish a sense of connection with fellow youth, fostering a community-driven approach to positive social transformation.

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