Study Group Attends Global Youth Forum at UN Headquarters

Ranney Upper School students have embarked on a first-of-its-kind partnership with the United Nations and Monmouth University to educate the community about global sustainable development goals.

On February 2, 2016, 11 Ranney students and 3 Monmouth University students participating in the United Nations SDG Study Group visited UN Headquarters to participate in the international ECOSOC Global Youth Forum. The conference focus was Youth Taking Action to Implement the 2030 Agenda, the 2030 agenda being the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs. The SDGs are a group of 17 goals adopted by the UN member states in September 2015 aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all, with specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.

The ECOSOC forum brought young leaders, primarily college students, from around the world to the UN to engage in dialogue with member states and to contribute to policy on global economic, social and environmental issues attached to the SDGs. Our students attended as observers and to gather information for their own research projects on the SDGs, which they hope to present at the UN later this spring. Part of the event also focused on ways in which young people can actively play a role in communicating the SDGs to their own communities, including through the use of current and innovative communication tools.

The students were chaperoned by Dr. Noel Delgado, who is advising the Ranney SDG study group and new Global Citizenship Signature Program, and Monmouth University Professor Dr. Patrizia Bonaventura, who serves as a representative for the Institute of Global Understanding to the UN Department of Public Information.

“Hearing student representatives from international NGOs discuss their plans to implement the SDGs in their corporations and communities was inspiring,” says Dr. Delgado. “The discussion on how, for the SDGs to be successful in the long term, young people needed to be included from the start as equal partners in formulating and devising solutions is the core of our Ranney study group. This spring, we hope to present the United Nations SDGs to the Ranney community and demonstrate how even high school students can impact change locally and support the goals globally. This is a wonderful opportunity to help guide future leaders in global sustainability.”

Below are a few reflections from students attending the February 2016 ECOSOC Global Youth Forum. In addition, you can watch videos here with the students taken just before they entered UN Headquarters for the forum:

“It was an amazing experience to be at the United Nations. From the speakers and sessions, I learned why it is essential for young people to be more proactive in helping implement the sustainable development goals of 2030. It was interesting to see how various countries took different approaches on implementing the sustainable goals and helping the younger generation become global citizens.” –Anisha Gupta, Class of 2018
“Besides the overarching goal, the statement that struck me the most was that the youth should be encouraged to participate in the actual planning stages of the Sustainable Development Goals and not simply carry out the plans produced from adults. Overall, I felt that the speeches made me fully aware at the problems at hand that were under discussion. This encouraged me to think of a feasible solution.” –Fabio Tessiorie, Class of 2019

“Over this trip, I learned that as students of today, we are the future of tomorrow and we too have a right to make a change in our world.” –Katherine Bibilouri, Class of 2018
“A prominent point that was discussed during the plenary session at the United Nations was to influence the youth perspective in a positive way toward sustainable awareness. This idea addressed Goal 17- Partnerships for Global Goals - that promoted sustainable development of global partnerships, specifically with the youth. Also, entrepreneur Dan Price discussed his implementation of the annual $70,000 minimum wage through his company named Gravity Payments. This addressed the goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda, including Goal 1- No poverty, and Goal 8- Decent Work and Economic Growth. Overall, my visit to the United Nations Headquarters in New York City was extraordinarily positive. My experience a enabled me to develop a more global perspective of sustainability and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. My experience was complimentary toward my enrollment in my Environmental Science, Sustainability & Ecology class at Ranney School.” –Dana Schioppo, Class of 2017

"I would just like to say that this trip to the UN taught me that we are in need of youth and minority contributions because these are the people that are most impacted. Youth participation will greatly benefit everyone because of the proposals of more creative solutions." -Brandan Whiteman, Class of 2019