Mater Dei Prep Global Leaders Institute featured at The United Nations High Level Political Forum


On July 6, 2021, The Mater Dei Prep Global Institute played a prominent role at The Prestigious UN High Level Political Forum. UN NGO Pathways To Peace was selected to close the days Forum presenting “Healing Our World by Healing Ourselves: Lessons Learned through the Pandemic. An Intergenerational Perspective on Advancing Justice, Inclusion and Peace.”

The Panel Conference was moderated by George Anthony, Director of the Mater Dei Prep Global Leaders Institute and United Nations Primary Representative, and Tezikiah Gabriel, Pathways To Peace Executive Director. Avon Mattison, Pathways To Peace President and lifelong UN Peace Building diplomat, opened the session.

Mater Dei Prep Global Leaders led the conference with their student video, “Why Our Voices Matter”, where student voices are expressing their concerns towards healing and creating sustainable solutions. Those voices belonged to Tyler Malik Ismail (MDP ’22), Mia Rodriguez (MDP ’24), Cathrine Volk (MDP ’24), Abigail O’Sullivan (MDP ’24), Gianna Wohanka (MDP ’24), Oliva Crowe (MDP ’24), Mark Paone (MDP ’24), Dylan Coleman (MDP ’24) and Mary Kate Brew (MDP ’24).

Topics discussed included racism, religious persecution, social media, gender equality and peace. Catherine Volk also served as a panel presenter focusing her positions on women’s leadership. One quote that resonated with the other panel speakers and international audience was when Cathrine stated, “Baby Boomers are not the past and Gen Z is not the future, only together as Intergenerational doers and thinkers we impact the present.”

Other panel speakers represented cross sections of impactful leaders. They were Amelia Eberline, a Strategic Communications professional from NYC. Katie McAvoy, RN, a global medical activist bringing medical assistance to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, as well as medical missions in South America, Africa, Gaza and The United States; Katie has also worked in partnership with the MDP Global Leaders Program. Other speakers were Promise Phelon, a dynamic and acclaimed General Partner Growth Warrior featured in WSJ, Forbes, Fortune and NY Times. Dena Mekawi, founder of “Style and Resilience” and sought out UN speaker, introduced Corey Jacobs, a Senior Advisor to P. Diddy and Founder of his Prison Reform Non-Profit “Buried Alive”.

Jon Luc McClean, a UN Representative, spoke boldly about anti bullying initiatives and his own journey in overcoming difficult obstacles in his life. Jon Luc was profiled in an award-winning Hulu documentary and is currently working on legislation in creating safe school communities.

Other speakers included Jodi O’Donnell-Ames, Founder of Hope Loves Company a support organization for families suffering from ALS, addressed the worldwide audience on hope and healing in a Post Covid world. Ray Andersen, a well-known NJ Musician, performed “Imagine” and original material.

Emma DeBiase (MDP ’23), a seasoned UN High School representative for Pathways To Peace, stated, “I enjoyed attending this conference because it provided a lens to other perspectives. The Global Leaders Program has provided numerous opportunities to connect with individuals and leaders in the field all working towards sustainable peace initiatives. I would like to thank Avon Mattison, Tezikiah Gabriel and Mr. Anthony for providing these remarkable conferences.”

Cathrine Volk (MDP ’24), a featured High Level Panel Speaker, stated, “It was an honor to be featured as a part of the High-Level Political Forum. We had the opportunity to hear about our world from a talented and diverse group of speakers. I was able to speak about intergenerational cooperation, from my perspective as a young person. Peacemakers of all ages spoke about the importance of different generations and people coming together to heal our world. This is just one of the many great projects I’ve been able to be a part of though the Global Leaders program and I cannot wait to do more with the program and Pathways To Peace.” 

George Anthony, Director of The MDP Global Leaders and Panel Moderator, was “pleased by the commitment and enthusiasm displayed by the speakers. I was equally proud of The Global Leaders video where students spoke in compelling dialogue expressing their concerns in moving this nation forward. Mater Dei Prep is truly a blessed community where students are afforded a global platform to provide their voice and their solutions in building a better world. I look forward to the coming year where we will continue to build partnerships and reacquaint old ones such as “The UN Permanent Mission of The Holy See” and Inter Religious and Leadership organizations throughout The Tri State area. There is always more to do in the field of peace building. We will continue to lead the way”


To view the Conference please visit

Mater Dei Prep students speak around 11:00 min in and 1:09:20