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Four De Montfort University students are set to represent the university at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York this week, following their exceptional efforts towards championing sustainability.

The students will join Vice-Chancellor Professor Katie Normington in making presentations on behalf of the university, as part of its long-standing relationship with the UN and its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Picture: DMU

During the visit each of the students will be given the opportunity to address representatives from the UN Economic and Social Council (UNECOSOC) and the UN Academic Impact (UNAI) in one of the UN’s world-famous debating chambers.

Students will present their own work towards the SDG’s, discuss experiences at DMU and outline plans to expand on these efforts, followed by an insightful feedback session from UN officials where students will be presented with ideas for new projects to bring back to the university.

Tarnjeet Kaur who studies Business and Economic Management at the university is one of the students set to present at the UN, she said: “I am so excited, I have never been to New York before.

“It is an absolute honour to be invited to the UN and represent DMU, I can’t quite believe it.”

She added: “I can’t even explain how much of a big opportunity this is for myself. We will be giving a presentation about our experiences at DMU, our work on sustainability and giving our own suggestions on how we can improve the SDG’s at the university.

“I never ever thought I would ever be going to the UN let alone as an ambassador representing DMU, it’s such a big honour.

“I am so excited to meet everybody too, I have so many questions to ask, not just on sustainability but also general questions about the UN and how things work, which could in turn help us improve sustainability at DMU too.”

PhD student Dennis McCall is also set to fly out to New York, he said: “I have always dreamt about going to the UN, this experience is a dream come true.

“I am really excited to be able to share my own experiences of what is happening on campus towards sustainability, including some of my own research, the whole experience is going to be surreal.”

He continued: “It’s an amazing opportunity to share everything we have been doing as a university. I am really looking forward to being part of all the conversations. 

“I think it’s really important for us as young people to be part of decision-making processes and just being part of the conversations alone is something I have always wanted to do.”

As part of the trip on Thursday, June 23, Professor Katie Normington will also be leading an interview with Ms. Michelle Gyles-McDonnough (MGM), Director of Sustainable Development Unit at the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General, another in series of the universities Leadership Series events.

Each of the students have been invited to prepare questions for the once in a life time interview opportunity and will be formally introduced to Ms Gyles-McDonnough by the Vice-Chancellor.

Other distinguished speakers will also be present during the week offering students the opportunity to ask long awaited questions to help improve their own contributions towards championing the SDGs.

These include:

  • Omar Hernandez, United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) Senior Officer
  • Jayashri Wyatt, Chief of the Education Outreach Section at the Outreach Division,
  • Felipe Queipo – NGO Relations and Advocacy, United Nations Department of Public Information
  • Noëlla Richard UNDP Youth empowerment team leader.

DMU has made strong commitments to the global call to champion the SDGs and is the only higher education institution in Britain to be a UNAI global hub for one of the Sustainable Development Goals – SDG 16 to promote peace, justice and strong institutions.