Notre Dame Students' Global Experience at The United Nations
February 15, 2017
BALTIMORE, MD – Notre Dame of Maryland University’s (NDMU) mission of “educating leaders to transform the world” is never more evident than during its bi-annual learning experience at the United Nations (U.N.) headquarters in New York. This fall, Dr. Anne Henderson, associate professor and chair of the History and International Studies department, led the charge for more than 20 NDMU women who embraced this eye-opening geopolitical and global experience.
Dr. Henderson says the main purpose of this experience is to “educate students about the purposes and work of the U.N., particularly in the areas of peacekeeping, the global refugee crisis, global health challenges, and human rights with a focus on women and LGBTQ.”
NDMU students attended a special NGO (non-governmental organization) briefing on how NGOs can assist the U.N. in fighting the AIDS epidemic, took a private tour of U.N. Security Council and U.N. General Assembly, and had the opportunity to meet and talk with U.N. representatives from around the globe.
“Though I had visited the U.N. before,” says Emily Przyborowski, a Political Science major at NDMU, “I’m still completely awestruck about how important their work is. It’s a new experience every time I visit.” Choosing to apply for the trip was an easy decision for Emily. Having the hands-on experience of visiting the U.N. acts as an invaluable opportunity for her, since her ideal job would deal with politics and international relations.
This opportunity is a part of NDMU’s recently obtained NGO status, which was officially declared March 2015. As an NGO, NDMU serves the global community as an active proponent for social change, particularly in education, peacebuilding, and female empowerment.
The NGO status allows for a closer relationship between NDMU and the U.N. giving students who are interested in international relations the opportunity to study the U.N., its policies and the hands-on experience of visiting its headquarters. “This unique experience brings to life what NDMU students are learning about the U.N. in the classroom and that is an entirely unique opportunity that adds to their academic career,” says Henderson.
NDMU students met Mateo Estrémé, the Deputy Permanent Representative for Argentina.
“Meeting Mateo Estrémé was an enlightening experience,” says Salome Svanidze, a Modern Foreign Languages major. “He was very approachable and kind, and was willing to answer many of our questions.”
Salome says experiencing the U.N. first hand and meeting global influencers will aid her greatly in the future. She is planning to attend graduate school at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, Austria.
Notre Dame has a long history with the U.N. The School Sisters of Notre Dame play an important role within the organization; Sister Eileen Reilly acts as the SSND representative, serving as an important figurehead for women everywhere. The ability to see great women like her striving for excellence and activism illustrates Notre Dame’s core mission: that NDMU is here to educate women who will transform the world.