Each year this global conference brings together representatives of NGOs from a multitude of diverse cultures and origins, as well as students, scholars, representatives of UN agencies, and government officials. They come together to advocate on behalf of the communities they represent, sharing their specific perspectives on the conference topic and contributing to final statements that emerge at the end of the conference. The topic of this year's conference was peace, development and disarmament. The location of Mexico City was selected for the 2009 meeting because it was the place where the historic “Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America” (otherwise known as the “Treaty of Tlatelolco” after the Aztec name for the central historical district of the Mexican capital) was signed on February 14, 1967.
Included below are brief introductions by Dr. Scorza and Dr. Ritz, as well as comments by the participating FDU students who on their return to FDU will contribute their leadership to peace and development education activities organized on FDU campuses.
To the right you will find links to journals, interviews, and photos -- all based on the perspectives and experiences of our FDU student representatives. Also to the right you will find the formal declaration adopted by conference participants at the closing session....
by Dr. Minerva S. Guttman, Director of the Henry P. Becton School of Nursing and Allied Health
A delegation from Fairleigh Dickinson University attended the 63rd Annual UN/DPI/NGO conference in Melbourne, Australia on August 30- Sept. 1, 2010. The delegation included Dr. Minerva Guttman, Dr. Cecilia Alvarez, faculty in the School of Nursing; Patricia Ukaigwe and Sara Thompson, both students in the DNP Program. Patricia Ukaigwe is also a member of the faculty in the School of Nursing. We left on August 25, 2010 for the 18 hour trip to Melbourne. I was the designated leader of the delegation and also the liaison to the Media Department of the Conference.
The goal of the conference is to provide an opportunity for NGO participants to exchange ideas and best practices in advocating with governments, businesses, researchers, and the public for meeting the Millennium goals. The UN is concerned that goals number 4, 5, & 6 generally referred to as the global health goals will not be met by 2015 as planned. That is why the theme of the conference is “Advance Global Health.”
The Chair of the Conference is Dr. Mary Norton, Associate Dean and Professor, Global Academic Initiatives at Felician College, New Jersey. She was chosen by the Executive Committee of the UN/DPI/NGO. The co-chairs of the Planning Committee are Maria-Luisa Chavez, Chief NGO Relations ad Dr. Phil Batterham, Associate Dean of Science, Melbourne University. One of our DNP students in the delegation, Patricia Ukaigwe, was a member of the planning committee. She was the recorder of the minutes and the proceedings of the planning committee meetings in New York City. The planning committee spent many months to prepare for the conference.
The conference opened with a beautiful presentation of native dances and songs of the aborigines of Australia. The general assembly had one roundtable for each day of the conference and then the delegates broke into various workshops. Each one of us went to different workshops. Roundtable I focused on the role of the NGOs and Civil Society in helping achieve the MDGs. Roundtable II focused on Equity, rights and progress toward the MDGs. Roundtable III focused on strengthening an integrated and systems approach to achieving the MDGs. The workshops elaborated on the roundtable themes and some of the presenters shared their best practices in achieving the global health MDGs.
One of the workshops I attended was that of the Executive Planning Committee. This committee was charged with drafting the Declaration of the conference agreed by 1,600 participants representing over 350 NGOs from more than 70 countries. It was very impressive to witness how this many participants came to agree on a brief declaration (one page double sided). It took the whole duration of the conference to get a final endorsement. After the assembly voted on the document, this was given to the Australian Convener who will deliver it to the UN general assembly during the MDG summit on September 20-23, 2010. Attached is a copy of the approved Declaration.
As for my job as media liaison, I was not interviewed by the Press because they were looking for big news on achieving the MDGs. In addition, the focus of the media attention was on the floods in Pakistan. They were trying to raise consciousness of the delegates to the plight of the Pakistani people.
Melbourne is a beautiful city. The people are very nice and hospitable. The city of Melbourne treated all delegates to Australian football—very different from American football in that the players kept running continuously during the game and it is much less rough. In addition a free concert that featured the songs and musical instruments of the aborigines provided a memorable event that is uniquely Australian.
FDU's delegation at the Conference
FDU's delegation included Dr. Minerva Guttman, Dr. Cecilia Alvarez, faculty in the School of Nursing; Patricia Ukaigwe and Sara Thompson, both students in the DNP Program. Patricia Ukaigwe is also a member of the faculty in the School of Nursing.
FDU's Contribution to the Conference
The purpose of the Pre-Conference is to highlight the theme of the main Conference, with emphasis on informing and engaging youth 18-24 in particular