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'Amazing' UN trip will stay with student for the rest of her life


A De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) student, who presented her ideas on sustainability at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York, has said the trip will stay with her for the rest of her life.

Tarnjeet Kaur was one of four DMU students given the chance to fly to the US and meet with senior staff at the UN to discuss their research.

UN PIX (1)

Over four days, the students explored the Big Apple and held a series of meetings at the famous UN Headquarters, on the banks of the East River.

Tarnjeet, who studies Business Management and Economics, said: “It was amazing, there are no words to describe how I’m feeling right now.

“What I will take from the UN is everything, and it’s going to stay with me for the rest of my life. You alone cannot change everything, but the UN has taught me that if you are passionate and hardworking, if you really want it, you will achieve it.”

The main opportunity of the trip was the chance for the students to present their research and ideas to members of the UN Economic and Social Council and the UN Academic Impact (UNAI), after which they were given feedback from Omar Hernandez, UNAI Senior Officer.

UN PIX (2)

Tarnjeet said: “Getting feedback from the UN was amazing because it made me feel like I’m doing the right thing, I’m on the right path. If I want to, I can achieve my goals, even if they might be big, like changing the world. It is possible, if I believe in it, and the feedback has given me a boost of confidence.”

Also on the trip was Dennis McCall Junior, an Air Transport Management PhD student.

He said: “It gave me a boost in my research, an increased passion. It can be tiring and stressful at times, but it’s given me a brand new lens as to how I can look at it.

He continued: “This is one of the best trips I've ever been on. I've represented my country on many occasions around the world, but this just tops them all.”

While at the UN, the students had the opportunity to question Michelle Gyles-McDonnough, Director, Sustainable Development Unit, Executive Office of the Secretary-General.

UN PIX (3)

Ms Gyles-McDonnough was interviewed by Vice-Chancellor Professor Katie Normington, as part of the university’s Leadership Series.

Afterwards, Kushbu Lad, who studies International Business and Entrepreneurship MSc at DMU, said: “Hearing someone else’s journey makes you feel like you can do it, whatever aspirations you have you can achieve them. Michelle was so inspiring, we’re just so lucky to get this opportunity.

“DMU giving us the opportunity to come out here breaks down that barrier for people like us, people who are far away or those who don’t come from good backgrounds.  And then seeing two women talk about leadership today was so powerful, they have had such an authentic journey.”

Education and Psychology student, Roze Arbaciauskaite, also had the chance to question Ms Gyles-McDonnough.

She said: “This opportunity has been so amazing and has given me confidence. We dream every day, and sometimes it’s hard to make those dreams a reality, but this this experience gives us the push to make our dreams real.

“Michelle told us that we have the resources, now we need to take our idea and run with it. We don’t need to wait, now is the time.”

The students’ work underlines DMU’s commitment to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: 17 targets which aim to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. DMU is the only higher education institution in Britain to be a global hub for one of the SDGs – SDG 16 to promote peace, justice and strong institutions. 

The university’s commitment to the SDGs, in particular sustainability, has been recognised in the latest Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2022, where DMU was ranked 30th in the world and 15th in the UK for its focus on responsible consumption and production.

Posted on Thursday 30th June 2022

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