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Mount Enacts Change at U.N.

4/26/2019

Phins for Change—a Mount student organization promoting sustainable change and purpose through active participation in civil and youth-oriented leadership dialogues concerning environmental sustainability—was represented at the eight annual Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum earlier this month at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

The theme of this year’s ECOSOC Youth Forum, “Empowered, Included, and Equal,” addressed the disadvantages of globalization—which are not sufficiently sustainable and inclusive—and discussed that the failure to support youth development in an inclusive way can lead to inequalities with long-term economic and social consequences.

The club’s president, Wantoe T. Wantoe ’22, was invited to attend by Her Excellency Inga Rhonda King, President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), to discuss the concepts of empowerment, inclusion, and equality.

“The Forum represents the most institutionalized avenue for youth participation in the work of the United Nations,” Ms. King wrote in her invitation to Wantoe. “Over the past years, the ECOSOC Youth Forum has evolved to become an apex forum, where outcomes of other global and regional youth initiatives and events are captured and distilled for member states.”

Wantoe, an international student from Liberia who majors in public policy and sociology, joined hundreds of young activists from around the globe to exchange ideas, solutions, and innovations to policy discussions at the United Nations.

The Forum offered a platform for the representatives of youth-led and youth-focused organizations, networks, and others to engage member states and U.N. officials—including the President of the General Assembly—in an effort to get youth involved in the community and national development, democratic life, and society.

In addition to attending, Wantoe had the opportunity to participate. In one breakout session about the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goal 4—meant to ensure inclusive, equitable, and quality education to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all—Wantoe shared his recommendations. His suggestion? Pledge a certain percentage of the education budget to build an infrastructure that facilitates the ability to train teachers of students with special needs through curriculum adaptation, teacher training, and acknowledging diversity in disability.

And that wasn’t all.

Wantoe also joined a breakout session on Africa and how countries can empower young people to find durable solutions for refugees. There, he was able to make a brief statement on the importance of supporting host countries who have to manage the arrival of large numbers of displaced people by adopting strategies to include job opportunities and counter-discrimination.

“Attending the ECOSOC Youth Forum allowed me to influence the formulation of policies directly at the U.N. Headquarters through dialogue,” said Wantoe. “Each session expanded my role as a global change maker, as well as a club and student leader at the College. I was enlightened. I knew my contribution made me a part of the solution.”

Learn more about Phins for Change and our other exceptional students organizations.

About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational, and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for lives of professional accomplishment, service, and leadership in the 21st century.