Staff from the Fordham provost’s office took the lead in organizing the United Nations’ first-ever International Education Day.
Held during International Education Week on Nov. 16, the event brought together leaders from the UN, government, and nongovernmental organizations around the world to talk about goals, best practices, and the power of global education to create a better world. More than 700 were in attendance in the UN’s New York headquarters, including Fordham faculty members, staff, and students.
Salvatore Longarino and Kelly Roberts, both of the Office of International Services in the provost’s office, spearheaded the event. They worked in conjunction with NYU, Columbia, City University of New York, and other universities who were represented in the day’s programming.
“In these times, when nationalistic themes have become stronger around the world, we felt it was imperative to bring together our international community from Fordham, New York City, and the world and reaffirm our common global goals,” said Longarino. “Our event was designed to celebrate the role of international education in creating a more peaceful, just, and equitable world.”
The day’s programming included three panel sessions: “Global Leadership Development”; Inspiring the Next Generation of Peacebuilders—The Power of Civil Society to Engage Youth to Take Action”; and “Education Across Borders—Ideas, Innovation, and Idealism from Intercultural Exchanges.”
Roberts organized the second panel, which focused on the power of young people to create positive change. It featured leaders from the UN’s youth programs and other youth organizations.
“Our goal in planning the youth panel was to highlight the unique innovation abilities of emerging adults in the context of peace and development,” said Roberts, “and to inspire the next generation of changemakers to take action to make the world a better place.”
Madison Ross, a member of the UN Department of Public Information’s Youth Steering Committee, called upon young people to “see human development as a right, not a privilege. See education as a right, not a privilege.
“There are close to 60 million youth without access to education,” Ross said. “We shouldn’t take it for granted … there should be no barriers for such human rights.”
In a special ceremony, Longarino and Roberts were each presented with an award in recognition of their leadership and advocacy in creating the inaugural event.