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UN DPI/NGO Reporter: Article by Fordham Youth Representative, Suzanne Arnold

NGO Youth Representative Testimony: Suzanne Arnold

I am currently a graduating senior at Fordham University and have been a Fordham University Youth Representative for three semesters. I immediately loved the position. It is unusual to find such an Internship where one has the liberty to craft their experience and act so independently, and also where one has an opportunity to attend such incredible events and network with some of the most interesting and connected people in the field of International Affairs. As a Youth Representative, you are given an amazing opportunity that has the potential to change your life and steer you down a certain path. All you have to do is truly take advantage of it.

As my tenure as Fordham’s Youth Representative winds down, I whole-heartedly believe that I took complete advantage of the position and everything that the position offered. In fact, after graduating from Fordham University, I am moving to Santiago, Chile to begin an Internship with the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean in the Policy Unit of the Sustainable Development and Human Settlements Division. I am confident in saying that my familiarity with the Millennium Development Goals, the new Sustainable Development Goals, the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and the United Nations in general, tremendously helped me obtain this Internship.

Additionally, my work as a Youth Representative has allowed me to become a more informed individual, and has enabled me to inform other members of civil society. Prior to this experience, I had never been inside the United Nations or understood its functions. I can say the same for many Fordham students who, as a result of Fordham’s association with the United Nations, have now been made more aware of the United Nations and all it does. As a Youth Representative, I bring members of the Fordham community to the United Nations, write a Blog, and manage Facebook and Twitter accounts (please see links below).

Ultimately, acting as a Youth Representative to the United Nations has provided me with an opportunity to learn from, and network with, people from all walks of life and professional backgrounds. I have attended meetings with trail-blazing diplomats like Madeleine Albright, with socially conscious celebrities like Steven Spielberg, with awe-inspiring athletes like Meb Keflezighi, and with high-level United Nations officials like Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

My experience as a Youth Representative to the United Nations has been invaluable and I urge all NGOs to appoint Youth Representatives. As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “Let us strengthen our efforts to include young people in policies, programmes and decision-making processes that benefit their futures and ours.” The Youth Representative position is certainly embodied in this message, and I hope that NGOs and the youth community continue to take advantage of Youth Representative positions, for they truly can be life changing.

http://ngodpiexecom.org/2014/05/ngo-youth-representative-report-suzanne-arnold/

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Suzanne Arnold
Fordham University Impact Initiative Student Coordinator
Fordham University Youth Representative to the United Nations

Briefing: 1 May 2014

“Media Freedom for a Better Future: Shaping the Post-2015 Development Agenda”

To celebrate World Press Freedom Day 2014 the United Nations Department of Public Information in cooperation with the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization hosted a special high-level briefing.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the briefing by saying that “we reaffirm our commitment to the fundamental freedom to receive and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers, enshrined in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights…On this World Press Freedom Day, I call on all Governments, societies and individuals to actively defend this fundamental right as critical factors in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and advancing the post-2015 development agenda”.

The President of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. John W. Ashe, also emphasized the importance of a free press in the post-2015 development agenda: “As was highlighted in the recent thematic debate on the General Assembly on Peaceful and Stable Societies, good governance, sound institutions, and rule of law are essential drivers of sustainable development. And, in this regard the role of free press is critical. Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are first and foremost fundamental rights and they form an essential pillar of democratic societies”.

To learn more about World Press Freedom Day, and to read more about what the United Nations is doing to promote press freedom and the safety of journalists, please visit:

http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/CI/CI/pdf/official_documents/UN_plan_on_Safety_Journalists_EN.pdf

http://www.article19.org/resources.php/resource/37393/en/access-to-information-central-to-the-post-2015-development-agenda

http://www.un.org/en/events/pressfreedomday/

http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/events/prizes-and-celebrations/celebrations/international-days/world-press-freedom-day/homepage/

Fordham Student, Li Wang, and Fordham Youth Rep, Suzanne Arnold

Fordham Student, Li Wang, and Fordham Youth Rep, Suzanne Arnold

 

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Suzanne Arnold
Fordham University Impact Initiative Student Coordinator
Fordham University Youth Representative to the United Nations

 

 

Celebrating Sport for Development and Peace: 28 April 2014

Inaugural International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

On 28 April 2014 the United Nations Secretary-General hosted a high-level meeting to inaugurate and celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, but also to sign a “historic” Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee. This meeting was the first official celebration of this important new UN Observance Day, declared by the General Assembly last August.

In attendance was the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon; the President of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. John W. Ashe; the President of the International Olympic Committee, Dr. Thomas Bach; the Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, Mr. Wilfried Lemke; Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the United Nations, Co-chair of the Group of Friends of Sport for Development and Peace, H.E. Mr. Mohamed Khaled Khiari; Honorary Chair, Special Olympics Korea, Member of the Governing Board of the International Paralympic Committee, Na Kyung-won; and the Honorary President of the International Olympic Committee and newly appointed Special Envoy on Youth Refugees and Sport, Mr. Jacques Rogge. There were also two athletes at the meeting: an Olympic Silver Medalist for the United States and the winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon, Mr. Meb Keflezighi, and multiple Olympic Champion in the biathlon for Norway, Mr. Ole Einar Bjørndalen.

The meeting emphasized the power and importance of sport, especially in development and peace, particularly in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon explained: “The immense popularity of sports helps reach many groups and communities with important messages on HIV/AIDS, non-communicable diseases, drug abuse, and environmental protections. Sport helps to reduce a stigma, and helps increase the social and economic integration of marginalized people, minorities, and persons with disabilities. Sports can be used to breach cultural, religious, ethnic, and social divides”.

Echoing similar sentiments, the President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. John W. Ashe, emphasized: “At its best, sport forces unity, encourages participation and inclusion, advances human rights, and promotes peace and development. Indeed the benefit of sport extends even further, sport can teach, adults and children alike, essential values such as effort, dedication, patience, fair-play, respect for others, cooperation, and team spirit. It promotes health and wellbeing through physical activity, and for many can be a gateway for education or for better personal opportunities.”

The rest of the speakers, including the President of the International Olympic Committee, Dr. Thomas Bach, further emphasized the power of sport. While many criticize Dr. Bach and the International Olympic Committee, it is hard to dispute the message that sport has the power to engender admirable and desirable traits and values. Personally, I am a huge proponent of sport, and welcome this new focus on Sport for Development and Peace. Sports have changed my life and have undoubtedly shaped the person I am today.

Additionally, I am very intrigued by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s words, “Sports are a low cost, high impact tool” and am in agreement with Dr. Thomas Bach’s statement that “Sport is always about building bridges, never about erecting walls”. Therefore, I am eager to see what the United Nations and the IOC do to further encourage Sport around the world, especially in ways less publicized and glamorized than the Olympics.

Thomas Bach, in his concluding remarks, mentioned: “As the late Nelson Mandela once said: ‘Sport can change the world’… Yes, sport can change the world, but it cannot change the world alone. When placing sport at the service of humankind, we need, and we want, the partnership with other players in society. We are very much interested in the partnerships of institutions, foundations, NGOs…” So, what can you do to further sport in your community?

President of the IOC, Dr. Thomas Bach, and UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, signing the Memorandum of Understanding

President of the IOC, Dr. Thomas Bach, and UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, signing the Memorandum of Understanding

President of the IOC, Dr. Thomas Bach, and UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, shaking hands after signing the Memorandum

President of the IOC, Dr. Thomas Bach, and UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, shaking hands after signing the Memorandum

 

To learn more about this event, please visit:

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47671#.U2K7216VDKg

http://www.teamusa.org/news/2014/april/28/ioc-and-un-secretariat-agree-to-use-sport-to-build-better-world

 

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Suzanne Arnold
Fordham University Impact Initiative Student Coordinator
Fordham University Youth Representative to the United Nations

The United Nations in Bloom

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Suzanne Arnold
Fordham University Impact Initiative Student Coordinator
Fordham University Youth Representative to the United Nations

Save the Date: The 65th Annual DPI/NGO Conference

Save the Date!!

The 65th Annual DPI/NGO Conference:

“2015 and Beyond: Our Action Agenda”

When:  Wednesday, 27 August, to Friday, 29 August, 2014

Where: United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY, United States of America


For more information, please visit:

http://outreach.un.org/ngorelations/2014/04/15/65th-dpingo-conference/

http://outreach.un.org/ngorelations/files/2014/04/65th-UN-DPI-NGO-Concept-Note1.pdf

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Suzanne Arnold
Fordham University Impact Initiative Student Coordinator
Fordham University Youth Representative to the United Nations

Beautiful Spring Day at the United Nations

Reflection of the Empire State Building on the United Nations Secretariat

Reflection of the Empire State Building on the United Nations Secretariat

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Suzanne Arnold
Fordham University Impact Initiative Student Coordinator
Fordham University Youth Representative to the United Nations

Briefing: 3 April 2014

“Education for Global Citizenship”

On 3 April 2014 DPI/NGO hosted a briefing, “Education for Global Citizenship”. To begin the briefing, Mr. Jeffrey Brez, the Chief of NGO Relations and Advocacy, emphasized the importance of “Education for Global Citizenship” by stating that, according to the United Nations’ My World Global Survey, “more than 1.5 million people from 194 countries have voted for what they think is the most important to achieve a better world. Across every single category – male, female, age groups, income levels – the top priority is education”.

However, education is not only a top priority for Civil Society, but for the United Nations as well. As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says: “Education is vital for fostering global citizenship and building peaceful societies”. Therefore, in 2012, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched a five-year initiative called the Global Education First Initiative (GEFI). This Initiative has three main priorities: to get every child into school, to make sure every child can access quality learning, and to educate global citizens. This third priority of the Global Education First Initiative, to educate global citizens, is what this DPI/NGO briefing was focused on.

Ms. Ozioma Egwuonwu                                                              (Photo courtesy of Kui Li)

The briefing’s moderator, Ms. Ozioma Egwuonwu, an internationally recognized speaker, strategist and educator, emphasized all that the United Nations is doing to promote “Education for Global Citizenship”. She especially emphasized the importance of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace that was adopted by consensus in 1999 by the United Nations General Assembly. According to Ms. Egwuonwu, this Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace “sets out guidelines for how people and governments and the United Nations can work together towards the realization and the common goal of creating a culture which brings together, and brings into being, the best future civilization as possible. The Program of Action includes fostering a culture of peace through education”. This Program is what ultimately helped create the Global Education First Initiative and allowed the United Nations to focus on the concept of “Education for Global Citizenship”.

H.E. Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury and Ms. Vibeke Jensen, the Director of UNESCO’s New York Office and Director of the Secretary-General’s Global First Education First Initiative, helped to better explain this often-abstract concept of Global Citizenship, and how education plays a role.

H.E. Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury (Photo courtesy of Kui Li)

H.E. Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury                            (Photo courtesy of Kui Li)

H.E. Ambassador Chowdhury mentioned that Global Citizenship is dependant on four main components or concepts, all beginning with the letter “I”: individuals, inter-generational, inclusivity, and institutional. He believes that a great deal of Global Citizenship has to do with the self-transformation of individuals. He also believes that Global Citizenship is an inter-generational phenomenon that needs to include all demographics of the world. And, lastly, he believes that institutions need to play more of a role in promoting and fostering Global Citizenship. For example, there needs to be more institutions, other than the United Nations and UNESCO, that actively work to promote Global Citizenship, especially through education.

Ms. Vibeke Jensen (Photo courtesy of Kui Li)

Ms. Vibeke Jensen                                                                       (Photo courtesy of Kui Li)

Ms. Jenson, on the other hand, talked much more about the role of education in Global Citizenship and finally gave the audience a definition of Global Citizenship Education. She said that Global Citizenship Education is a “concept that really articulates the overall purpose of education. It recognizes the relevance of education in understanding and resolving social, political, cultural, and global issues. It stresses the interconnected world that we are living in and the real need for all of us to understand how that works and how we can help one another to move forward in a peaceful and sustainable manner. It recognizes the role of education in moving beyond the development of knowledge and skills to also facilitate the acquisition of values and attitudes in order to promote social transformation. And, importantly also, it empowers learners to engage and assume active roles both locally and globally to face and resolve global challenges and ultimately to become proactive co-contributors to promoting peace, tolerance, a culture of peace, and a secure and sustainable world”.

Ms. Jenson also talked about the politics of education and how difficult it is to fulfill the three core goals of the Global Education First Initiative. She told the audience that although the Initiative is officially a five-year initiative, it will take much longer than five years to ensure these goals are met.

Regardless, the United Nations will continue to work to meet these goals, but they need the help of Civil Society to promote Education for Global Citizenship. This blog post, and the fact that this briefing was held, are ways that Civil Society is already contributing to the idea and practice of Global Citizenship Education.

How can you help promote and foster Education for Global Citizenship?

To learn more about United Nation’s Global Education First Initiative, please visit: http://www.globaleducationfirst.org

To learn more about the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, please visit: http://www.un.org/en/ga/63/plenary/B_peace_culture.shtml

To take the My World Global Survey here: http://www.myworld2015.org

Members of the Fordham International Student Association from the Graduate School of Business Administration

Members of the Fordham International Student Association from the Graduate School of Business Administration       (Photo courtesy of Kui Li)

Fordham Youth Rep, Suzanne Arnold

Fordham Youth Rep, Suzanne Arnold

 

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Suzanne Arnold
Fordham University Impact Initiative Student Coordinator
Fordham University Youth Representative to the United Nations

 

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