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Seventh grade students from MS 226 in South Ozone Park have been selected to participate in the 2019-2020 NYC Junior Ambassadors program.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Students that attend six Queens schools have been selected to participate in the fifth NYC Junior Ambassadors program, the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs announced Thursday.
This year’s Junior Ambassadors program features 650 seventh-graders and educators from all five boroughs. According to administration officials, the participants will engage directly in the work of the United Nations and explore ways to address urgent world challenges both locally and globally.
The six borough schools are: MS 226 in South Ozone Park; Al-Ihsan Academy in South Ozone Park; IS 204 in Long Island City; MS 217 in Briarwood; Middle Village Preparatory Charter School; and Far Rockaway’s Academy of Medical Technology: A College Board School.
MOIA Commissioner Penny Abeywardena noted that through the NYC Junior Ambassadors program, New York students are empowered to help create a better world through learning about the UN and the Sustainable Development Goals which seek to address poverty, climate change, and inequality in all its forms. Each class in the program will incorporate these goals into their classroom curriculum, with educators teaching a wide variety of subjects. Educators receive professional training and materials to support their lesson plans. In addition, students will receive a classroom visit from a senior UN diplomat and a curated tour of the UN headquarters in Manhattan tailored to their class’s curricular interest.
The participants will also attend a special celebration where they will showcase their year-end projects and receive a certificate acknowledging their participation in the program. Graduates will also gain access to an alumni network of thousands of past junior ambassadors.
“We’ve seen in recent months how the voice of young people can be a catalyst for change on worldwide challenges like global warming. Through the NYC Junior Ambassadors program, our youth are given yet another opportunity to grow as global citizens and advocate for change, starting in their own communities,” Abeywardena added. “As we mark this five-year milestone, our commitment to the youth of New York City and to the principles of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is stronger than ever. By connecting students with the incredible resources in our international community not only are we equipping them to be the leaders of the future, we are creating a better future for all of us.”
According to the administration, this year, the program received nearly 70 applications from across the five boroughs. From this pool, 20 classrooms and after-school programs were selected to become members of the 2019-2020 cohort of the NYC Junior Ambassadors program. In addition to these newest members, approximately 2,500 students and educators from nearly 80 classrooms and after-school programs have participated in the program since its launch in 2015.
“The program transcends the classroom, allowing the students to take lessons about human rights and sustainability to the streets of New York City. It is heartening to see young adults so attune to world affairs and committed to making a lasting impact across the globe,” said Bill Chong, commissioner of the Department of Youth and Community Development, and member of the NYC Junior Ambassadors Selection Committee. “The initiative helps youth find their voice by recognizing the importance of civic engagement and thinking critically about important international issues.”