Stephanie Sleilati and Maria Pia Merheb, architecture and finance students respectively at Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) were selected to represent Lebanon at the 2020 ECOSOC Youth Forum. The two were selected as part of an joint effort of the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), in partnership with the previous Ministry of State for Economic Empowerment of Women and Youth (EEWAY), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) to support the participation of 5 Lebanese youth in the forum.
Both Sleilati and Merheb went through a rigorous selection process, first participating in the “Youth Innovation for Lebanon’s Sustainable Development” on August 8, 2019 alongside over 160 Lebanese youth, followed by a second workshop “The Road to ECOSOC” given on September 27, 2019, to 25 remaining participants. The theme of this year’s forum is "Accelerated Action and Transformative Pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development," and the training workshops served to reinforce this theme by raising awareness on sustainable development in Lebanon and exploring innovative ideas to accelerate said development.
The final selection phase took place on February 6, 2020, where the remaining participants were asked to present their projects in order to be among the five selected to attend the ECOSOC Youth Forum. Seliati and Merheb favorably impressed the judges with the project, and were qualified to join the delegation to represent Lebanon in the forum, which takes place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on April 1 and 2, 2020.