Three students from Boise State University participated in a grassroots conference hosted by the United Nations Association on Feb. 23, in New York City. Cae Odell, Hunter Carson and Kelsey Hyslop joined more than 1,000 other students from across the U.S. at the 2018 Global Engagement Summit, held at the United Nations (U.N.) headquarters.
A United Nations Association chapter at Boise State recently was formed by Odell. The chapter was founded with the goal of bringing new ideas to Boise to help facilitate discussions on important issues occurring in the international and national arenas.
The Engagement Summit in New York fosters an environment for students and educators to interact and discuss the goals and themes of the U.N.’s 17 developmental goals. From the seats of the U.N. General Assembly, visiting students had the opportunity to participate in conversations on environmental sustainability and the U.N.’s role in the private sector, as well as conversations revolving around the growing issue of refugee displacement.
The summit featured prominent speakers, including U.N. General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák.
In his speech, Lajčák described the formation and role of the U.N. in promoting global peace and security. He also underscored the growing necessity for organizations like the U.N. and other international organizations to help create and facilitate dialogue on pressing issues like environmentalism, addressing the refugee crisis and creating conversations around the prevention of global conflicts.
Students had the opportunity to ask questions of summit speakers, which ranged from queries on the U.N.’s role in Yemen and Ukraine to demands for U.N. action on the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh and protection of Syrian refugees. Boise State students left the summit with new questions to motivate their academic studies, such as: What are the limitations faced by refugees in achieving higher education? How can Boise State researchers contribute to the knowledge on sustainable development in developing countries? What can Boise State students do to assist the 258 million people who are currently displaced?
The Boise State UNA-USA chapter would like to thank the School of Public Service and the Frank Church Institute for their support and encouragement.
This trip would not have been made possible without the support of local community members and faculty of Boise State. Lecturer Isaac Castellano accompanied the delegation of students on the trip; Garry Wenske, Chase Johnson, and Steven Feldstein also were vital in planning and securing necessary funds for the students to make the journey.