BY YVETTE BROWN
Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, Penny Abeywardena, welcomed the inaugural cohort of New York City Junior Ambassadors consisting of seventh graders from across NYC. The program allows for seventh graders to be educated about the role of the United Nations and how they play that role in the global community, while they’re encouraged to participate in social change.
In October of last year, on the occasion of United Nations Day, the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs invited seventh grade educators to engage in a citywide competition to participate in the NYC Junior Ambassadors. Over 70 educators submitted their curriculum proposals, which involved a variety of issues including climate change, child labor, human rights and gender equality.
“Programs such as NYC Junior Ambassadors make use of our privileged role as home of the United Nations, and foster the strong partnership between New York City and the United Nations,” said de Blasio. “Providing our youth with the knowledge and tools to encourage social change by learning from the global community is beneficial for all New Yorkers.”
The inaugural cohort of NYC Junior Ambassadors will be allowed to participate in curated tours of the United Nations’ headquarters and visit diplomatic missions. In addition to this, United Nations Ambassadors and experts will visit the students’ classrooms to discuss their experiences in depth. By the end of the program, seventh grade students will receive a certificate to attest to their participation in NYC Junior Ambassadors, this gives them the opportunity to celebrate their efforts to become active global citizens.
“NYC Junior Ambassadors will be a transformative experience for participants, their families and their broader communities. The initiative provides a special opportunity for youth to share their experience of the important work of the United Nations with their families. These critical, intergenerational connections will have a lasting impact on the way we as New Yorkers think of the connection between New York City and the U.N.,” said Abeywardena.
A committee of NYC-based global and local leaders selected the cohort. During the selection process, considerations such as classroom diversity, class size and educator commitment were weighed in.
The winning Queens schools are PS 113, Hunters Point Community Middle School and The 30th Avenue School. The committee members include Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan/Bronx), Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), Chancellor of NYC Department of Education Carmen Fariña, Abeywardena, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs Bill Chong, President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation Kathy Calvin and Chairperson of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Board member of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Valerie Rockefeller Wayne.
“We are thrilled to be a NYC Junior Ambassadors classroom. As an educator, I have the opportunity to guide my students into realizing and fulfilling their voice through advocacy to make a meaningful impact in the future. Being able to assist in the process of inspiring my students is truly rewarding, because it reinforces why I am here, and what I am doing to help these students change the world,” said Annette Bindert, a Literature Teacher at the 30th Avenue School.
The NYC Junior Ambassadors cohort will partake in activities from January through June of this year. To receive updates in the program, follow the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs on Facebook and Twitter @globalnyc.
Reach Yvette Brown at (718)357-7400 ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org or @eveywrites.