A diverse group of elite students from across the country came together at Seton Hall to learn how they can be part of the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The Seton Hall University School of Diplomacy and International Relations hosted its inaugural (Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Public Service Weekend conference, 'Local Action, Global Goals: Service for Sustainable Development', June 21-23 in New York City, at the United Nations, and on the School's South Orange, NJ, main campus.
"As a PPIA graduate school consortium member, we wanted to engage the student community in a meaningful and proactive way." – says Daniel Kristo, Assistant Dean for Graduate Enrollment Management. "The diversity of our shared PPIA network," he continues, "is a top contributor to an enhanced understanding of relevant public diplomacy topics from a global as well as local perspective. Focused on the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's), as both a case study and a call to action, our conference offered an unparalleled learning experience for this year's cohort, while providing unique access to the United Nations community."
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, outlines a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing – to align in global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. The ambitious implementation of SDG's requires local action by diverse innovative minds. To this end, the conference participants - in collaboration with a team of SHU Diplomacy experts including alumni, faculty, students, and renowned practitioners from the public, private and non-profit sectors – developed a better understanding and appreciation for global challenges, compatible graduate studies specializations, economics, and negotiation skills. Best practices guiding the field work currently being done within the public diplomacy community at Seton Hall and beyond were exchanged. In a nod to Seton Hall's annual UN Sustainable Development Challenge, conference attendees were grouped into pairs for a weekend-long exercise that aimed to leverage each team's wisdom and the insights they gathered from guest presenters to generate ideas that address an SDG of interest. Conference attendee Sowsan Deifallah described the weekend content as "invaluable," adding that "it will, without a doubt, inform my path going forward."
Ifeoluwa Shoola, another conference participant, reflected,
"What I learned this weekend has been very instrumental in shaping my thoughts about how I would love to make a difference in the future. I appreciate the thoughtfulness that was put into planning the program and do not take the opportunity we got to learn from Seton Hall Diplomacy students and alumni for granted."
Elizabeth Halpin, Associate Dean, was enthusiastic about both the conference and the participants' role in shaping our communities' futures.
"Today, more than ever," she said, "in the U.S. and abroad, we recognize the importance of dialogue and inclusion of a variety of voices in order to represent a multitude of backgrounds. It is our civic duty to share the resources and knowledge of our institution to support the development of rising public service leaders. Through this event, we raised awareness about current global concerns and enhanced the skills of students from underrepresented groups, who have a passion for tackling the challenges ahead for the greater social good."
A cohort of 13 students was chosen from 70 applicants, representing 10 universities, including University of Pennsylvania, Arizona State and Syracuse, and 10 national backgrounds, from Bangladesh to Palestine, Ecuador to Nigeria. The group was 70% non-Caucasian and 70% female. With majors ranging from Criminal Justice to Interactive Neuroscience, the group brought a diverse set of perspectives to the table as they spoke with leaders from the UN Development Programme, UN Global Compact, UNA-USA, Deloitte, Ford Foundation, Latino Justice, the City of Newark, the NJ Governor's Office, and more.
Seton Hall was selected as one of five national institutions to host a PPIA Public Service Weekend conference, including: Carnegie Mellon University, Virginia Commonwealth University, George Washington University and University of Southern California. These events reinforce PPIA's mission and overall focus to increase the participation and inclusion of traditionally underrepresented groups at the highest level of public sector leadership. NASPAA, the global standard for public service education, co-sponsored Seton Hall's conference in an effort to further inspire a new generation of diverse students to enter graduate programs and pursue careers in public service.
The School of Diplomacy and International Relations was launched in exclusive alliance with the United Nations Association of the USA, now part of the United Nations Foundation. This partnership guided the development of its curriculum and multilateral approach to an international affairs education. Today, the School is proud to be recognized among APSIA members as the leading school connected to the UN community. Indeed, Seton Hall and the School of Diplomacy serve as professional platforms for the promotion of the Sustainable Development Goals. The School offers a menu of customizable graduate programs that prepare students to address these goals through successful careers in the public, private and non-profit sectors. The MA in Diplomacy and International Relations program was recognized by internationalrelationsedu.org as Best in the State for 2018: Top International Relations Master's Programs in the U.S., beating out competitors including Princeton University, Rutgers University and more to represent NJ.
Categories: Nation and World