Day 1: Social Venture for Sustainable Development: Pre-Youth Assembly at the UN seminar starts today
At the picturesque campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) in Madison, New Jersey, 150 young leaders from 23 countries around the world gathered to brainstorm innovation solutions to critical issues in their countries.
As part of the academic package of the Youth Assembly at the United Nations, participants made today their first step in the “Social Venture for Sustainable Development” seminar. The intensive university certificate-based program aims to teach them hands-on skills in creating and developing a social venture business project.
The weeklong project is not only an opportunity for participants but also a challenge to ensure their engagement and participation in achieving an inclusive and sustainable future where no one is left behind, by exploring cross-cutting issues and solutions for sustainable development in the social, economic and environmental dimensions.
To jumpstart their ideas, delegates had the opportunity to benefit from peer mentoring, which will guide them to prepare an action plan that proposes and develops solutions for current issues. Action plans are done by different groups, with each one including delegates from different nationalities and backgrounds.
Following the meetings, a welcome orientation session was held. Dr. Jason Scorza, a senior lecturer at FDU, has welcomed the delegates and introduced them to the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the 2030 U.N. agenda.
Dr. Scorza stressed the importance of the SDGs #17, noting that no one should forget about partnerships. He also highlighted the successful 10th partnership this year between Friendship Ambassadors Foundation and FDU on the Youth Assembly at the United Nations project.
In the end, Dr. Scorza encouraged students to learn from each other because, as he put it, “it is a great learning opportunity, because here, students, researchers and scholars can meet and share their knowledge.”
Biana Kovic, the executive director of Friendship Ambassador Foundation, expressed her gratitude to everyone involved in this year’s seminar at FDU. Kovic introduced the work of FAF and thanked all partners from FDU to Global Young Voices. She also mentioned that FAF believe deeply in educating global youth and accelerating sustainable developments in various communities. FAF’s focus this year is on “Equity and Inclusion,” which springs from their belief that no one should be left behind.
Professor Gerard Cleaves, senior lecturer at FDU, also welcomed the delegates and introduced the basic principles of social entrepreneurship. He described the current state of the world by pointing out good things, such as “explorations, technology, transportation, communication, medicine and healthcare development,” as well as bad things, like “inequality, slavery, bio-diversity, mining wars, energy issues, climate change and water pollution,” among others.
Delegates then toured FDU’s Florham campus as part of a scavenger hunt game to conclude the day.