To my 15-year-old self,
Your shyness makes it hard for you to speak up and have others hear your voice but know when you are passionate about something your words will tumble out!
You have such big dreams studying science, technology, space and math. Stay firm in that commitment to be shoulder to shoulder to boys who study STEM – be the top of the class.
You are so lucky to have a mother, father and sister who support you. Their advice, guidance and voices will be with you for the rest of your life … so listen and store it away in your memories.
Times will change rapidly. Technology and digital skills will evolve at rates that you cannot imagine. You love mathematics, become a designer and a coder. Tech skills and digital connectivity will become central to narrowing the educational and livelihood divides that girls and women have experienced across generations.
Continue to be curious. Explore the world and its many cultures. There is beauty on our planet. Find it. Discover and invent so you can be part of the future generation of relentless problem-solvers and changemakers. Learn business so you can make your own way in the world economically. Be a lifelong champion for girls, all girls, everywhere. Girls can do anything they dream of doing.
I believe in you, Henrietta, be strong and clear in your voice and actions, and believe in your ideas. You want to explore and help the world. Do so. Study, travel and have fun! Play every sport possible and learn teamwork, it will make everything you do in life easier.
Henrietta, your 2020, wiser self.
Henrietta H. Fore serves as the Executive Director of UNICEF.