NEW PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN U.N. AND COLLEGES TO SOLVE GLOBAL PROBLEMS
(Nov. 30, 2010) Norwalk Community College President David L. Levinson, Ph.D., and Dean of Academic Affairs Pamela Edington, Ed.D., represented NCC at the recent launch of the United Nations Academic Impact,held at the U.N. headquarters in New York City.
NCC was one of 160 colleges and universities from 47 countries invited to participate in a two-day conference launching this initiative, which seeks to create partnerships between the U.N. and academia and foster a culture of social responsibility for such global goals as promoting human rights, protecting the environment and ending wars.Drs. Levinson and Edington were among 500 participants who attended seminars and other related activities and shared ideas on how to match academic innovation with the work of the United Nations.
“Academic institutions have an invaluable role to play in strengthening the work of the United Nations,” said U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. “From research laboratories to seminar rooms, from lecture halls to informal gatherings in cafeterias, the search for innovative solutions to global challenges often begins on campus.”
In a letter in the U.N. Chronicle magazine (11/3/10), the Secretary General said, “The academic world and the world Organization are already good, close partners, but there is great scope to go further still. … I look forward to the contributions this scholarly partnership can make in our efforts to build a peaceful, prosperous and just world for all.”
As a participating Academic Impact institution, NCC will be expected to engage in one activity or project annually in support of 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, literacy, sustainability and conflict resolution.
These principles are based on the U.N. Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Millennium Development Goals (see below).
NCC’s international student body and commitment to cultivating a keen sense of global citizenship are consistent with the goals of the Academic Impact, said President Levinson.
Levinson is a board member of the U Thant Institute, an organization launched at the U.N. in 2003to advance peace and alleviate poverty through education.
NCC educates students about the complex, transnational issues of our time and encourages them to take their learning beyond the classroom.
Members of the NCC Chapter of the Student World Assembly have held symposiums on human rights, AIDS/HIV, the crises in Darfur and Congo, and climate change.NCC students successfully campaigned to add “green” elements to the design of the college’s Center for Science, Health and Wellness, now under construction.
In 2008, NCC hosted a lecture on campus by climate change expert Christiana Figueres, who in 2010 was named Executive Secretary of the U.N. Climate Change Conference.
Since 2013 NCC has a Model UN club and that students have participated in national Model UN conferences in Portland, Oregon, Washington D,C, and this spring in New York. They have also done fundraisers for Doctors without borders for instance.
The Peace club has been organizing UN day for several years now with a variety of speakers. (Last with Jim Himes and The Deputy Director of the United Nations Middle East and West Asia Division, Darko Mocibob on the crisis in Syria.) Other topics included The Future of Water and the Crisis in Congo to mention only a few. The peace club has also offered peace education trips abroad and partners with refugee organizations in the US and humanitarian organizations in Darfur and Congo with a focus on schooling and women’s education and micro-financing.
THE TEN PRINCIPLES OF THE U.N. ACADEMIC IMPACT
- A commitment to the principles inherent in the United Nations Charter as values that education seeks to promote and help fulfill.
- A commitment to human rights, among them freedom of inquiry, opinion and speech
- A commitment to educational opportunity for all people regardless of gender, race, religion or ethnicity
- A commitment to the opportunity for every interested individual to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary for the pursuit of higher education
- A commitment to building capacity in higher education systems across the world
- A commitment to encouraging global citizenship through education
- A commitment to advancing peace and conflict resolution through education
- A commitment to addressing issues of poverty through education
- A commitment to promoting sustainability through education
- A commitment to promoting inter-cultural dialogue and understanding and the “unlearning” of intolerance, through education