I extend my most sincere thanks to my seven co-collaborators who helped me draft a cogent, articulate declaration establishing students’ equity stake in the United Nations Academic Impact initiative. I never thought I’d be a part of something like this, and although the vicissitudinous nature of the United Nations irks me so, I am proud to have lent my cognitive machinery to the cause. Unlike traditional UN rhetoric, our document does not prevaricate, and though our language is vague–purposely so–it does not obfuscate. Below is the final draft.
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Declaration of Student Involvement in United Nations Academic Impact
The students convened at the United Nations Academic Impact Launch represent the future participants in the program. The ultimate success of the initiative depends on the participation of– and collaboration between UNAI officials, university administrations and faculties, and the student bodies of each institution. In broad strokes, this initial document outlines our responsibilities, obligations, limitations, and proposes some guidelines for UNAI officials.
As stakeholders in this program, it is our duty to clearly articulate our goals and their respective strategies. Stakeholders must focus on developing workable, sustainable solutions to pressing issues facing our world, in particular, those highlighted in the ten principles of the UNAI. Fundamentally, this hinges on an open, respectful, academically and intellectually honest forum which facilitates collaboration amongst UNAI stakeholders.
Obligations & Limitations
While we cannot devote expertise per se, we will put forth our time, energy, and innovative spirit to making the principles of the United Nations Academic Impact a part of our outreach strategies. It is incumbent upon us as stakeholders to unite across borders and between academic disciplines to work collaboratively to solve the difficult but ultimately solvable problems stemming from endemic poverty. However, our primary responsibility is our studies; although we are devoted to making the UNAI a success, we request sensitivity to our obligations. Similarly, we promise deference to university administrators, UNAI officials, and their collective experience and insight.
Specific Requests of UNAI Officials
We request of UNAI officials formal recognition of students as stakeholders in the program’s success. Furthermore, we propose an annual meeting between UNAI officials and student representatives from affiliated universities. Students need an equity stake in the decision-making process.
We hope that this document serves as a stepping-stone to a more comprehensive program, one that inspires action on behalf of us students to achieve commonly-held goals with our administrations and the UNAI. Going forward, the program will evolve and will be stronger for a dialogue between students, university administrators, teaching faculties, and the United Nations Academic Impact.