UNESCO: Education For All

How does it feel to sit in the chair of the Secretary General of the United Nations Mr. Ban Ki-moon? You should ask Jenny Mena, a student from ACTION at the Point CDC in the Bronx.

UNESCO New York Office, where I do an internship related to the urban environment, has asked me to identify a student from the Bronx to talk at the Launch of the Education For All 2010 Report. We have decided to forward this inquiry to the Point CDC, an organization that provides after-school education and rebuilds the environment in disadvantaged communities in the South Bronx. Then the Point CDC educators have asked Jenny Mena to talk at the Launch. Jenny has been in the ACTION program for several years, which was a great addition to her formal education in a regular school. For example, the Point teaches students about how to be proactive, rebuild your community, and address environmental issues in your neighborhood – everything that is rarely taught in public schools.

On the photo above, Jenny is delivering a speech about educational opportunities in the Bronx, sitting next to Irina Bokova, the UNESCO Director General. Notice that Jenny has taken Ban Ki-moon’s chair when he had to leave. My other students from the Bronx (The Point CDC, Phipps CDC) also came to the Launch.


NOAA project kick-off

Three of my community-based partner organizations in the Bronx have received a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A week ago youth and educators from YMPJ, The Point CDC, and Phipps CDC conducted a kick-off meeting, where YMPJ students have discussed the issue of combined sewer overflows (CSO), and how they mitigate this problem by converting impervious areas in inner city into rain gardens and green roofs. This spring/summer each of these three organizations will build new green spaces that will collect runoff water to prevent flooding/pollution of the Bronx River.

UNESCO meets with Bronx students

Today the UNESCO New York Office has organized a session for several high-school student from ACTION at the Point, the South Bronx. Vahan Galoumian of UNESCO has discussed with youth the United Nations and UNESCO’s programs such as World Heritage, Biosphere Reserves and the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. Students have also learned about the URBIS Initiative, which contributes to the resilience and sustainability of cities around the world. Christine Alfsen, the director of UNESCO New York Office (photo, left) has greeted participants at the end of this session.