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School of Diplomacy Community Contributes to UN Conference

Note: This is now an archived post. Photos are not longer available.

The 65th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference, titled “2015 and Beyond: Our Action Agenda,” was recently held at United Nations Headquarters from August 27th-29th. Diplomacy faculty, students, and alumni made numerous contributions to the success of the conference.

The DPI/NGO conference is an annual event for civil society at the UN, as more than 2,000 representatives of NGOs from all over the world came together for workshops aimed at forging stronger connections between civil society groups. The outcome document of the conference stressed the important role of civil society in both bringing the proposed Sustainable Development Goals into reality as well as providing the accountability that will be integral to the success of the Goals.

Here’s how Diplomacy faculty, students, and alumni worked to make the Conference a huge success:

Faculty Role

Fr. Brian Muzas, Assistant Professor at the Diplomacy School, helped to organize a workshop called “Fostering Global Citizenship Through Collaboration: Higher Education, NGOs, and The UN” in conjunction with colleagues from Felician College, St. Peter’s University, and Caritas Internationalis. The goal of the workshop was to better demonstrate how programs such as the Diplomacy School use in-class learning and internships to help students think of themselves as true global citizens.

Student Role

Diplomacy students contributed in a number of ways to the success of the conference. Brianna Fitzpatrick, a senior double majoring in Diplomacy and Catholic Studies and double minoring in Spanish and Economics, spoke at Father Brian’s panel. Gabriel Torres (BS ’14) also spoke at Father Brian’s panel. Pictured below are (L-R): Brianna Fitzpatrick, Kristen Wilson from Felician College, Joseph Donnelly from Caritas, Fr. Brian Muzas, Gabriel Torres, and Mary Norton from Felician College.


Oumar Kouraogo, a junior in Diplomacy pursuing a minor in Catholic Studies, contributed to the conference in a number of ways. First, he volunteered for DPI, serving the conference by helping to direct people to specific conference rooms as well as helping to register the large crowds. Here he is with Dadirai Chikwengo, a representative from Caritas UK.


Oumar is also currently interning with Caritas. Here’s a picture of him with Diplomacy interns past and present (Fitzpatrick and Torres) with the Caritas director, Joseph Donnelly.


When asked about his experience as a volunteer, Oumar said that he was “truly honored to serve” and enjoyed “meeting and greeting people from diverse backgrounds.”

Alumni Role

Students are drawn to the Diplomacy School because of the connections with the UN, and they continue to contribute to strengthening the UN even after they graduate. The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) is not only home to several alums, it also hosted a pair of workshops at the conference. The picture below is of several “generations” of Diplomacy alumni (L-R): Emil Chireno, Director of the UNA of the Dominican Republic, Allen Abi-Yaghi (MADIR ’07) and Vincent Fuentes (MADIR ’11) from WFUNA, and Diplomacy Sophomore Gabriela Taveras, UNA-DR volunteer.


Finally, two other Diplomacy alums played important roles in getting the word out about the conference. John Sinden, Jr. (MADIR ’12) served as a youth blogger for the Conference. Read his impressions of the conference on the DPI/NGO tumblr page HERE. Sinden also contributed a column for the blog on the role of Education post-2015 which you can read HERE.

Finally, Dana Terry (MADIR ’14) volunteered with DPI and live-tweeted the conference. You can read her summary of the conference HERE and a Storify of some of her live-tweets from August 29th are HERE.

We’ll have more to follow about Diplomacy’s participation in the DPI/NGO conference in the weeks to come!


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