FDUs Kathy Stein-Smith, Director of the Weiner Library and Adjunct Professor of French, recently served as a facilitator and mentor for winners of an essay contest sponsored by the United Nations Academic Impact Program and ELS English Language Schools. The contest invited students to write an essay about one of the ten principles of the Academic Impact Program in a language other than their native language. The purpose of the contest was to enhance recognition of the importance of bilingualism for promoting mutual understanding, respect, and peace around the world, as well as to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations itself.
More than 4000 students from 128 countries submitted 2,000 word essays written in one of the official United Nations languages – English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and Arabic. Stein-Smith served as mentor for the winners in the French category, evaluating their verbal fluency and helping them prepare to make presentations in the General Assembly Hall at UN Headquarters, during the “Many Languages, One World Youth Forum”, a five-day event that took place in New York from 25-29 June 2014. In addition to the session at the General Assembly Hall, the Forum included sightseeing and cultural events in New York, as well as workshops at neighboring Adelphi University for the 60 winners.
Airfare, room, and board for all contest winners were paid for by ELS, thanks to the vision of its president, Mr. Mark Harris. As a token of appreciation for this generosity, Mrs. Susan Adams, wife of the late President Michael Adams, presented Mr. Harris with a rare book, which had been one of President Adams’ most cherished keepsakes. Also in attendance was Dr. Jason Scorza, Vice Provost for Academic and International Education, who worked closely with President Adams and the UN Department of Public Information on the development of the UN Academic Impact Program. The Academic Impact, now boasting more than 1000 member institutions around the globe, invites universities to develop concrete projects on behalf of ten basic principles,
- A commitment to the principles inherent in the United Nations Charter as values that education seeks to promote and help fulfil;
- 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.
Saturday, July 12, 2014