Lehigh takes part in UN Day celebration

Oct. 24th, Lehigh students celebrated UN Day on campus for the third year in a row by informing students about opportunities available at the UN.

October 24th, the anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations, has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. It was a day adopted by all countries in honor of the achievements made by the UN.

This year Lehigh students chose to highlight the UN Youth Delegate program, and the nearly 20 students, representing all 4 colleges, that serve as the voice of NGO’s from numerous countries around the world.

Ashley Thoet ’13 explained why it was important to focus specifically on this program.

“The vast majority of Lehigh students are not aware of the UN Partnership or our Youth Delegate Program,” she said. “We utilized UN Day as a way to get the message out there and inform students on campus about this unique opportunity.”

In 2006, students in the Global Citizenship Program initiated the Youth Delegate Program. Since then a select group of students with an international focus from all four colleges have built relationships with NGOs unable to provide a representative at United Nations headquarters. They serve as “youth” delegates for their NGO by frequently attending conferences, workshops, and sessions pertaining to their cause and reporting back substantial details.

Lehigh was the first NGO to create such a proxy program, and now it has been adopted by the UN and used as the model program globally.

Alexis Alu, a graduate student majoring in Globalization and Educational Change, explained why she applied to the Youth Delegate Program.

“As a global studies major, I’m very interested in learning about our current world issues. Having the opportunity to have first hand experience with global decision makers and raising awareness about these issues on campus is something I wanted to be a part of,” she said.

“I first got involved in the program by working as a LU/UN intern and now I am a delegate representing the Center for Public Health in Nigeria. I’m in constant contact with the President through Facebook, Skype, and e-mail,” she explained.

In addition to forming these exclusive relationships, delegates have had the opportunity to attend high-level UN NGO briefings on a vast array of topics. Some students have invited Ambassadors or other high ranking UN official to campus, while others were offered the chance to present their research at the UN.

The Lehigh UN Youth Delegate program is the quintessential example of Lehigh empowering its students, enabling them to have an impact globally. This represents one of the many programs that reveal Lehigh’s commitment to fostering global perspectives and establishing its global footprint.

November 6, 2012 

By Angela Farren ’13