Two Niagara University students discussed their research and recommendations on the relationship between the COVID-19 pandemic and youth homelessness at the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s Youth Forum on April 6. The students were invited by Jim Claffey, the Congregation of the Mission’s NGO representative at the UN, to present at the forum, which gives young people the unique opportunity to contribute to UN policy discussions through their collective ideas, solutions, and innovations, with a specific focus on how to address the challenges they face as youth and the contributions they can make to achieve the youth-specific Sustainable Development Goals.
Juniors Adam Kiedrowski, who is pursuing a double major in history and political science, and Luke Donner, who is majoring in political science, international studies, and history, shared their proposal to create a universal platform in partnership with social media, organizations, and government to provide homeless youth and other vulnerable populations with resources to assist them.
“This is an incredible opportunity for these students to present meaningful research that directly connects to the mission of the university,” said Dr. David Reilly, chair of the political science department. “It is rare for undergraduates to find meaningful academic engagement at the United Nations. The fact that Adam Kiedrowski and Luke Donner are presenting their research findings and policy prescriptions at the Economic and Social Council—one of the six primary organs of the UN system—means that they are engaged at the highest level of international diplomacy and decision-making.”
As the main platform for youth to share their ideas at the global level, the forum allows representatives of youth-led and youth-focused organizations and networks, youth advocates, and other youth stakeholders to dialogue with member states and to explore ways and means of promoting youth development and engagement. Participants take part in brainstorming sessions, interactive speaker panels, and discussions with member states on the annual ECOSOC/High-Level Political Forum themes. Other gatherings held in the framework of the forum, including side events, encourage participants to further engage with one another on a wide range of topics.