Teaneck Talk -- 6/17/2010 -- U.N. Ties Boost Global Education

Dear Friends in Teaneck,

There has long been a well-traveled path between the United Nations and Teaneck, New Jersey. The founder of Fairleigh Dickinson University, Peter Sammartino, would regularly bring U.N. representatives to lecture and teach on campus. Sometimes, students would even drive and escort ambassadors from U.N. headquarters in New York City to campus.

We’ve strengthened this partnership in recent years, and students have many new opportunities to become involved with the world body. Through our U.N. Pathways Forum, which is open to members of the community, U.N. ambassadors visit our campus every semester. In recent years, students have met with ambassadors who hailed from Vietnam, Ireland, Syria, Nigeria, Cuba and many other nations. We also regularly broadcast videoconferences from U.N. headquarters to the University.

Fairleigh Dickinson is one of only about a dozen universities in the nation to have earned nongovernmental organization (NGO) status associated with the U.N. Department of Public Information. Faculty and students thus have special access to U.N. briefings and programs. FDU also is the only university to enjoy special consultative status with the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). As such, we are able to send delegates to international conferences and students can volunteer and work as interns in the NGO sector.

Now, in the latest and most exciting chapter of our partnership, 24 faculty members have been named to NGO committees at the United Nations. These faculty have the opportunity to interact on a global stage, using their knowledge and expertise to address significant world problems. They are viewed as leaders in their respective fields, and they have much to contribute.

Let me emphasize that these individuals are participants, not observers. They will play significant roles on 17 different committees addressing a wide variety of issues. For example, management professor Gerard Farias is serving on the Committee on Sustainable Development, nursing professor Glennena Haynes-Smith is assigned to the Committee on Human Rights and anthropology professor David Rosen is working on the Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security.

The United Nations benefits from the expertise that our faculty bring to these committees, and our faculty have the opportunity to use their knowledge to address significant global challenges. Most importantly, faculty will be able to share their experiences with their students and create new learning opportunities in the classroom. They will enhance their lessons with newfound insights gained from multinational efforts. They will, in short, bring the world back to campus.

That, ultimately is what drives our partnership with the United Nations and so many other efforts; the goal of bringing the world to our students, helping them to understand it a little better and perhaps inspiring them to improve it along the way.

J. Michael Adams has served as the president of FDU since 1999. He also is president-elect of the International Association of University Presidents. For more information about FDU’s global education and its programs with the United Nations, see www.fdu.edu or www.globaleducation.edu.


In 2009, Fairleigh Dickinson University President J. Michael Adams began writing a column for the Teaneck Suburbanite that appears in its bi-monthly newsletter called "Teaneck Talk."

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