Students Visit U.N. and Meet Secretary General

Seven University students were invited to attend an event at the Unit­ed Nations in New York City to meet Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on February 20. The event was held at the Economic and Social Council Conference Room at the United Na­tion’s Headquarters in New York.

In attendance were seven Univer­sity students of varying degrees and majors as well as Dr. Rekha Datta from the Political Science and So­ciology Department. The event was sponsored by the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) program which serves to get students more involved and educated in the work­ings of the U.N. Since his appoint­ment in 2007, Ki-Moon has been very concerned with the education of the younger generation and the UNAI has sponsored many events such as the one this past Wednesday.

Students arrived at the U.N. and were able to spend a few hours ex­ploring the various exhibits. There were five other universities in atten­dance including some individuals from Kenya and Japan.

The purpose of the event was to allow students to ask Ki-Moon ques­tions about his work at the United Nations and the publication of the U.N.’s book: “Building a Better Fu­ture for All: Selected Speeches of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.”

His book includes 100 of his fa­vorite speeches from his time as Secretary General from 2007 to the present. He provided 20 signed cop­ies of his book to each university as a gift in hopes that there would be a spark of interest in international is­sues from the younger generation. This is particularly important in today’s world because, as Ki-Moon pointed out, roughly 50 percent of the world’s population is currently under the age of 25.

The Secretary General not only provided some knowledge about the state of the global community, but also sought to inspire students in at­tendance.

His words certainly touched se­nior communication major, Alexan­dria Fitzgerald.

“For being one of the most well-respected and highly regarded world leaders, Ki-Moon was one of the most humble and genuine people I have ever met; which can definitely be attributed to his successful two term leadership at the U.N. The current job-market, globally and domestically, is at an all-time low, which makes almost all college stu­dents doubtful towards the futures. Ki-Moon’s speech provided hope, motivation, and faith that one day we will be the future leaders sitting in those seats,” said Fitzgerald.

Other members of the Political Science Department, along with Datta, are trying to promote interest in the U.N.

Datta reflected on some of the comments made by the Secretary General; “The U.N. Secretary Gen­eral applauded the work that each of the universities were doing through their involvement with the United Nations Academic Impact, of which the University is a signatory. He encouraged students to be passion­ate about what they are studying and have compassion for the world around them.”

Datta continued, “He expressed his faith in the ability of students to make the world a better place. MU debaters, who are mentoring the Asbury Park High School De­bate Team, represent one such effort to empower underprivileged high school students to become better prepared for college and future ca­reers.”

These “out of the classroom” learning experiences, which many professors are attempting to provide, are once in a lifetime. Not only do they enhance a student’s perspective but they also add to an individual’s résumé as Fitzgerald pointed out;

“These opportunities that Monmouth provides us really are what will distinguish our résumé and set us apart in our upcoming job searches. More students should really take advantage of these ben­eficial programs, since it provides a great learning experience outside of the classroom,” said Fitzgerald.

Datta said that she will continue to attempt to provide the University students with these experiences as she looks back on the event and de­corum of the students in attendance; “The event, and the book, will be treasured by the students; it was an exciting and unique opportunity. I was very proud of the students who went and represented the University at the Economic and Social Council Conference Room of the U.N. Head­quarters with poise and grace,” said Datta.

PHOTO TAKEN by Dr. Rekha Datta