LAU–UN Day empowers youth to get involved in activism
About 20 UN agencies visit LAU to promote social causes and scout for student recruits and volunteers.
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Representatives from 22 UN agencies and their partners promoted social causes at the first ever LAU-UN Day organized on the Beirut campus April 27, as part of a broad university effort to get students involved in activism.
The agencies occupied booths in the courtyard facing the Safadi Fine Arts Building, inviting streams of students to learn about job, internship and volunteer opportunities available at the UN.
Some of the participating UN agencies included the UN Development Program, UN Population Fund, Food and Agriculture Organization, and the International Labor Organization.
“What we’re trying to do is promote social movements through civil society,” says Marita Kassis, a member of LAU’s Outreach and Civic Engagement unit that organized the event in partnership with the United Nations Information Center in Beirut.
“We want to shift the limelight from politics to society,” Kassis adds.
During the event’s launching ceremony, Bahaa El Koussy, UNIC director in Beirut, noted that the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution two years ago proclaiming the period stretching from August 12, 2010 to August 11, 2011 the International Year of the Youth.
He said youth deserve the full support of UN agencies and “present great potential” for improving livelihoods.
“No one can make as big a difference as you,” El Koussy told students. He added: “We at the UN have considerable faith in your potential and in your capacities and are quite confident that our future is in safe hands.”
Also speaking during the opening ceremony, Dr. Joseph Jabbra, LAU president, quoted the words of Kofi Annan, former UN secretary-general: “A society that cuts off from its youth severs its lifeline.”
“We at LAU have listened very, very carefully at this admonition,” Jabbra said. “And instead of cutting off from youth, we embrace them, for youth are our only hope for a better future for humanity.”