UNICEF Campus Initiative National and Alumni Councils reflect on Annual Meeting
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This post was written by the UNICEF Campus Initiative National and Alumni Councils.
The UNICEF Campus Initiative National Council, founded in 2008, strengthens the Campus Initiative program and works closely with the U.S. Fund to represent and support campus clubs around the country.
Created in November 2010, the UNICEF Campus Initiative Alumni Association strives to unite all Campus Initiative Alumni in their sustained commitment to advocate, educate, and fundraise beyond university borders for the survival and development of the world’s children.
We, the UNICEF Campus Initiative National Council and Alumni Council, had the privilege of attending U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s Annual Meeting on May 3-4. On Thursday, we dined with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF community including major donors, staff, board members, and partners. Caryl Stern and Fareed Zakaria welcomed everyone and reviewed the importance of UNICEF in reaching zero preventable deaths amongst children. Nuttin’ But Strings, the musical performance for the evening, left us breathless; it was a powerful and entertaining way to commence a very productive meeting.
Friday, May 4, was filled with networking opportunities as we not only listened to an expert panel on emergencies led by Cynthia McFadden, but we also had the honor of speaking with As Sy, Regional Director of Eastern and Southern Africa. We learned about how he became involved with UNICEF, what it is like to work in the field, and what is currently going on in regards to the Sahel Crisis. We engaged him with questions on how we, as grassroots volunteers, could take further action to alert more citizens about the Sahel Crisis in the United States. He encouraged us to stay informed by reading the news and educating others about what we have been reading when it comes to global current events.
A unique and noteworthy aspect to Friday’s program was a 16-person UNICEF Highlights presentation that showcased a myriad of different programs that engage different groups of constituencies. Inspirational leaders from each program spoke fondly of their project, which included: young children, major donors, civil societies, faith-based organizations, regional officers, technological innovation specialists, celebrity ambassadors, and national partners.
As council members, we felt most connected to Maureen McLaughlin, Director of International Affairs, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education, because she spoke about teaching America’s youth to be global citizens, which is the foundation of UNICEF Campus Initiative. With such a big focus on global citizenship during this Annual Meeting, we are proud to see that more and more people in the United States are focusing on the importance of being a global citizen. She said, “Investing in citizenship gives a voice… investing in global citizenship creates a global network of solidarity.”
To share the same space with highly influential leaders was an awe-inspiring moment for all Council members. The end of the Annual Meeting not only reinforced our dedication to UNICEF, but it left us rejuvenated and excited to continue serving as volunteers to fundraise, educate, and advocate for child survival.