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Two ESF Students Represent Youth at United Nations

UN conference to focus on poverty alleviation
2/1/2012

Two students from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) have been selected as part of a contingent to represent young people at the 50th session of the United Nations Commission on Social Development Feb. 1 through 10 at the U.N. headquarters in New York City.

Anirudh Sridar of Bangalore, India, and Rigoberto Melgar of Port Washington, N.Y., are juniors in the Department of Environmental Studies at ESF. They were selected by SustainUS, a youth network for sustainable development, as participants in a conference where some 46 countries will shape U.N. policy around the theme of poverty alleviation.

Melgar said, "They were looking for people who could help with the many different aspects of solving the problem of poverty and felt that I could bring sustainability and environmentalism to the discussions."

Sridar said he has always been interested in diplomacy and sees this conference as the way to begin solving major problems. "Most environmental issues are more international than local and hence I feel that the United Nations is the only body capable of bringing about homogeneous change around the world," he said.

The students will have the opportunity to participate in official negotiations, speak to the media, meet with government delegates and work with other young people from a number of educational institutions including Princeton and Penn State University.

Lunchtime and break time may present the best opening to have some input on the conference outcome.

"That's when we can meet the delegates from around the world and offer facts and perspectives to make the agreements they reach more remedial," said Sridhar.

It is also an occasion to see what life might be like after college.

"I would like to work for the United Nations. They are part of the solution to worldwide problems and the conference is a chance to find out how I can reach that goal," said Melgar.

In addition to the priority theme of alleviating poverty, the sessions will also review U.N. plans to assist disabled persons, youth, the aged, and the family.

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