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.
Suzanne Arnold, Fordham University
Fordham Impact Initiative Blog: http://fordhamimpactinitiative.wordpress.com
Fordham Impact Initiative Facebook:
The Global NGO Executive Committee (GNEC) was founded in 1962 to promote a closer working relationship between the United Nations and the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) associated with it. GNEC acts as a liaison between the NGO community and the UN's Department of Global Communications (DGC). GNEC provides strategic guidance to help NGOs become more effective partners of the UN.
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