Students to pitch community projects to global audience at UN in New York

Students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) are set to pitch ideas to improve local communities to an audience of hundreds at the United Nations in New York.

The volunteers will join Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard at this week’s 67th annual DPI/NGO Conference, the premier event of the UN’s NGO calendar.

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More than 1,000 delegates from business and organisations all over the world will attend the two-day event, which this year will share ideas on how to meet the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

On Thursday (August 23) Professor Shellard will give an address to the assembled delegates – including representatives from world business, education and other industries - in one of the UN’s famous debating chambers.

He will describe some of the work DMU has done to further the SDGs, which address ecological and humanitarian issues including poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change and social justice, and outline plans to expand on these efforts.

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During a lunchbreak, DMU will host one of four breakout sessions, addressing an audience of around 500 delegates.

At this session, the four invited students – Aneesah Latkan, Daniel Bewley, Demis Makris-Colman and Emily Fox – will pitch two community projects that could be set up in Leicester.

One would see 1,000 student volunteers work for one day across Leicester, encouraging a mass clean-up of the city, trimming hedges, clearing litter, painting and fixing to improve communities.

While the other is a plan to students to work with asylum seekers and refugees and ‘spend a week in their shoes’ – living on a similar budget and recording the challenges they face on a daily basis to build a picture of their lives, prompting ideas for change.

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The delegates will then make suggestions, drawing on their vast range of experience in similar projects, before voting on which project they want to see the students take forward.

Daniel, who has just finished the first year of an Economics and Politics course, said: “It means so much to be given the chance to take these ideas out of Leicester and connect them with the world through the forum of the UN.

“I’m excited to be there and meet some of the delegates and hear their feedback on our ideas.”

The university has taken the step of embedding the SDGs into its curriculum, covering all aspects of DMU’s teaching, learning and research.

This has led to DMU being chosen by the United Nations Academic Impact group as a ‘designated hub’ for SDG number 16 – the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Posted on Tuesday 21st August 2018

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