The United Nations recently approved SUNY Old Westbury as a member of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), a global initiative that aligns institutions of higher education with the United Nations to further the principles of human rights, diversity, sustainability, peace and social justice through intellectual, socially responsible activities, programs and research. The college now joins more than 1,000 universities and colleges from around the world.
“Many of the guiding principles of the United Nations Academic Impact have long been embraced by the mission and work at Old Westbury, so we’re pleased to be a part of this partnership with the UN,” said College President Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III. “It is gratifying to be a part of this organization and to know that many of the ideals we have promoted for decades can be advanced through this partnership.”
To mark its inclusion in this UN initiative, SUNY Old Westbury held its first UNAI-associated program on Feb. 28 when it hosted a panel and film, Native Americans/African Americans—Our Connections Past, Present, Future, which focused on the history, impact and present condition of the Shinnecock Indians of Long Island. The event was part of the College’s Black History Month programming and was organized by Sociology Professor Diana Papademas, the college’s UN project coordinator who led its UNAI application effort.
SUNY Old Westbury has committed to advance 10 basic principles:
• Commitment to the UN Charter
• Human rights
• Educational opportunity for all
• Higher education opportunity to every interested individual
• Capacity-building in higher education systems
• Global citizenship
• Peace and conflict resolution
• Addressing poverty
• The “unlearning” of intolerance
In a calendar year, each member must carry out a minimum of one activity in support of at least one of the ten principles of UNAI. Old Westbury will incorporate these principles into its annual Student Research Days and will conduct the UN-sponsored World Day of Cultural Diversity.