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From left to right: Rigo Melgar (ESF), Rina Kuusipalo (Harvard), Reed Thompson, Anirudh Sridar (ESF) & Yi Wang

Two ESF Students Represent Youth at United Nations

Work focuses on alleviating poverty
3/9/2012

Two students from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) joined students from Harvard and Princeton as part of a contingent representing 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 adopted resolutions to shape U.N. policy to help alleviate poverty.

"I was very proud of having been able to represent my beloved SUNY-ESF and SustainUS at the United Nations," Melgar said. "I was very proud that I was able to include biophysical economic and sustainability perspectives in the speech delivered by the students."

Sridar said he has always been interested in diplomacy and saw 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 had 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 from the European Union and around the world.

"New York City proved to me again that anything is possible in New York and that my parents' decision to come to live here was the best decision of our lives," Melgar said.

"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, who hopes to pursue a career with the U.N. when he completes his degree work.

Malgar said, "I consider that my mission in life is to help have a world united with a common purpose of creating a sustainable human civilization that will last for generations to come in harmony with its environment."

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

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