On Thursday, November 2nd, twenty seven freshmen members of the Mater Dei Prep Emerging Global Leaders Program attended the DPI/NGO “YOUnited” conference at the United Nations. The conference provided an in-depth look at how youth can affect change through policy and action. Over eight of the Mater Dei Prep students were recognized by the panel and spoke powerfully about the necessary changes needed to address the issues of current times. Other schools in attendance were Tufts University, Fordham University, and Monmouth University.
According to the DPI/NGO website, “youth bring ideas, passion, innovation, along with unique perspectives and experiences to the United Nations. In turn, DPI acknowledges young people as an asset to creative change makers.” Mater Dei Prep was fortunate to listen to presentations by the renowned list of guest speakers. This year the conference Moderator was Steve Chiu, the Youth Representative of Tzu Chi Foundation. Other speakers included Annie Weaver, Programme Support Consultant in the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth; Lauren Horn, Senior Program Manager for The Resolution Project; Shakira McKnight, Advisor to the Newark Youth Ambassadors under the administration of Mayor Ras J. Barka; and Omar Almutawa, Youth Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations.
All of the guest speakers motivated the students to become the future of change in the country. Students enjoyed hearing the stories of all the different youth representatives and their mission to effect change. Everyone in attendance felt empowered by their stories and it inspired them to work harder, volunteer more, and especially do everything in their power to make the world a better place.
Bridgette Blumetti, from the Class of 2021, was inspired to have her generations voice heard. “The panel members’ ideas and statements taught me that the youth of this country are extremely important and that we are the future. We will be leading this country and some of us may even be sitting in the same chair as today's speakers. One of the topics that I found interesting was how they used social media to reach out to today's youth. Social media is something we are constantly accessing, yet we never realize how we can use it to our advantage. Spreading awareness via social media is a really clever and unique method of reaching out to the youth of world. It is ok to be the youngest person in the room, and we should take advantage of that and prove that young voices need to be heard.”
Rakim Cooper, from the Class of 2021, also discovered the importance of social media effecting change in our country amongst the youth. “After attending the conference I have learned that my past experiences can help play a role in leading our generation. The youth constantly talk on social media and share their great ideas but never act on them. This conference taught me that if you have a great idea on how to better society you should not be afraid and share it with the world. We are the future leaders and should act on our ideas and messages.”
The Mater Dei Prep Emerging Global Leaders Program will continue to be active players within the United Nations organizations with continued support from organizations such as U.N. NGO Pathway’s To Peace. Mr. George Anthony, educator and UN Pathway’s To Peace Representative continues to lead the program. Katelyn Grano ’18 continues her role as a UN High School Representative. Seraph scholars look forward to a visit from Shermin Luo, UN Representative from China and Columbia University to discuss The Resolution Project that provides a platform for student voices to play a leadership role in developing solutions on the world stage.
For more information on the Mater Dei Prep Emerging Global Leaders Program, please visit MaterDeiPrep.org and click Emerging Global Leaders under the academics tab.