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UN Sustainable Development Challenge: Where Are They Now Series- Part I  

The United Nations Building in New York City, with flags out front.  Did you know that Seton Hall University's School of Diplomacy and International Relations is currently accepting applications for its third annual UN Sustainable Development Challenge (UN SDC)? The School is sponsoring two Challenge programs: one for high school students, and a second graduate challenge for college seniors and recent bachelor's degree graduates. The Challenge is the same for each group: propose solutions to any of the UN Global Goals for the chance to win cash prizes and scholarships to attend Seton Hall University. Learn more about this year's challenge»

Our Center for UN and Global Governance Studies, the Challenge host, sat down with last year's finalists to discuss their Challenge experience. In Part I of our two part series, they share their motivations for participating in the Challenge and their proposal idea.

Keep an eye out for more Challenge reflections and subscribe to the Center's blog, The Permanent Observer, to receive updates on the competition, our UN events and initiatives and more.

Alex Miller, a finalist in the School of Diplomacy’s 2017 graduate-level U.N. Sustainable Development ChallengeAlex Miller was a finalist in the School of Diplomacy's 2017 graduate-level UN Sustainable Development Challenge. Miller received his Bachelor's Degree in English and Political Science from the University of Michigan in 2012. He wanted to attend graduate school to continue learning about the daily challenges that impact foreign policy practitioners. Miller hopes the SDG competition will allow him to hone his skills and contribute to sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa. He is a current graduate student of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall.

What motivated you to participate in our UN Sustainable Development Challenge?
I applied to the SDG Challenge for two reasons: the opportunity for tuition scholarships and a general interest in sustainable development. I knew funding for my graduate study would be a big factor when it came to deciding which institution to attend. The SDG Challenge provided me both an opportunity to pursue a scholarship and to visit Seton Hall's campus.

Tell us briefly about your challenge proposal.
For my topic, I proposed the creation of health centers in southern Africa that would strive to accomplish the following goals:

  1. Provide access to medical services for LGBT individuals who are HIV-positive
  2. Promote education regarding their status and living with HIV for both LGBT and non-LGBT individuals
  3. Encourage inclusion and acceptance of the LGBT individuals in communities

I choose this proposal due to my previous work with HIV-positive youth at a health clinic in Gaborone, Botswana. I saw the good these clinics promote and wanted to encourage further implementation of similar centers to reach more at-risk groups. The LGBT community has a much higher risk of HIV-infection than the rest of the population and suffers from widespread anti-LGBT sentiment in the region. I saw the need for the concerted implementation of centers that directly address the health needs of the LGBT community while also providing resources to promote their inclusion within local communities.

Picture of Patricia Graza

Patricia Zanini Graca was a finalist in the School of Diplomacy's 2017 graduate-level UN Sustainable Development Challenge. Graca is a Brazilian native who received her undergraduate degree in Languages from the Universite Sophia Antipolis in Nice, France in 1999. In 2013, she obtained her MBA with a specialization in Marketing from ISAE/ Fundação Getúlio Vargas in Curitiba, Brazil. Graca's belief that education is a catalyst for change motivated her to become an educator and to lead fundraising initiatives for nonprofits. Currently, she is pursuing her Master of Arts in Diplomacy & International Relations at the School of Diplomacy.

What motivated you to participate in our UN Sustainable Development Challenge?
I participated in the SDG Challenge because I believe the UN Sustainable Development Goals are the tools we need to change the world. The role of the SDG Challenge is unique because it allows students to be agents of change and present inspiring solutions in tandem with the SDGs.

Tell us briefly about your proposal.
I chose Goal 17, revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development, because this goal encompasses all the other sixteen goals. We live in a connected world; therefore everything and everyone are connected. All goals are connected. Revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development will benefit us all as a planet, and it will help us achieve all 17 goals within the deadline.

2018 Challenge entries will be accepted until Sunday, March 11. To learn more about the competition and how to apply, click here.

Categories: Nation and World

For more information, please contact:

  • School of Diplomacy
  • (973) 275-2515
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