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University Joins the United Nations Academic Impact Program

by Adrianna Caraballo

Montclair State University is now an official member of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI). UNAI members work with the U.N. on issues of interest, like global warming, peace, human rights and sustainable development.

There are currently 1,300 institutions in over 135 countries across the globe who are a part of the program.

Montclair State is required to complete at least one activity a year to meet one of the UNAI principles. According to the member institution guidelines, the 10 UNAI principles are:

– Addressing issues of poverty through education.

– Building capacity in higher education.

– Educational opportunity for all people regardless of gender, race, religion or ethnicity.

– Encouraging global citizenship through education.

– The opportunity for every interested individual to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary for the pursuit of higher education.

– Human rights, among them, freedom of inquiry, opinion and speech.

– Promoting intercultural dialogue and understanding, and the “unlearning” of intolerance, through education.

– Advancing peace and conflict resolution through education.

– Promoting sustainability through education.

– A commitment to the principles inherent to the United Nations Charter.

Sophomore economics major Shahrzad Koofi Ahmadi, believes there’s nothing but benefits in exchanging ideas between the university and the U.N.

“It’s great because Montclair [State] is a really diverse community,” Ahmadi said. “[There are] a lot of experiences you have here, that you can bring [to the U.N].”

There is a list of suggested events for schools to partake in on the UNAI website. An upcoming event includes campaigning to reduce cancer by decreasing smoking on World Cancer Day in February.

Sophomore international business major Hannah Szwed, believes students in international classes would be interested in exploring U.N. events on campus.

“I think that’s cool because last year I was in a class [called] international relations,” Szwed said. “I think people in that class would be interested.”

Montclair State is also encouraged to collaborate with other institutions to host events, start research projects and campus exchange programs.

The university will be allowed to attend special events at the U.N. alongside other schools. For those not in attendance, UNAI events that take place at the U.N. building in New York are recorded and broadcast for other schools.

Willard Gingerich, provost and vice president for academic affairs, believes this new membership opens an opportunity for Montclair State to work alongside an international platform.

“What it amounts to is an invitation to us to be part of almost anything that the United Nations does in a public platform,” Gingerich said. “It opens doors for all of us and all our programs.”


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