Monmouth University students participated in a youth forum on “Making a Difference,” which marked the third anniversary of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) on Monday, November 18, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Monmouth University students and youth representatives from other UNAI member organizations were able to interact with special guests, including Ahmad Alhendawi, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth; Noorjahan Akbar, co-founder of Young Women for Change and the 2013 Glamour Magazine College Woman of the Year; and Maggie Betts, director and producer of The Carrier, a documentary about HIV/AIDS in Africa. Students were able to share their own efforts in making a difference in their local community or internationally.
A UNAI partner, Monmouth University, in collaboration with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth and Middlesex Counties and Asbury Park High School, has created a unique and ground-breaking mentorship program. Also called Project BAM, the mentorship program reflects the UNAI principle of making higher education accessible for all. It serves as a model of empowerment through education in a local community, which may be replicated in other parts of the world. Monmouth University political science major Daniel Roman participated in a panel discussion and shared his experience as part of group of Monmouth students that mentor a debate team at Asbury Park High School. Roman spoke about what mentoring meant to him and the Monmouth University community.
“Being a coach of the Asbury Park High School Debate team has been one of the most memorable experiences of my life,” said Roman. “Aside from being able to coach something I love, I have had the pleasure of working with some of the most incredible people I have ever met.”
After attending the youth forum, Federigo Magherini, chief of United Nations Chronicle Publications and Editorial Outreach Division, commented, “Monmouth University should be proud to have such eloquent representatives, who are able to partake and discuss youth issues with confidence and knowledge here at the UN.”
The trip was organized by the Monmouth University Department of Political Science and Sociology, and sponsored by the Political Science Club, the Sociology Club, and the Institute for Global Understanding.
UNAI, launched by the Secretary-General on November 18, 2010, is a global initiative that aligns institutions of higher learning and research with the United Nations in actively supporting 10 universally accepted principles, including in the areas of peace and security, human rights, and sustainable development. It currently has nearly 1,000 members in some 120 countries. For more information about UNAI, please visit http://outreach.un.org/.