4 March 2013
Press Release
Note No. 6381

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents


Secretary-General to Attend Thirty-seventh UNIS-UN Conference, under Theme

 

‘Modern Youthquake:  A Generation’s Impact’, at Headquarters, 7-8 March


Heading a list of seven distinguished speakers, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will make opening remarks at the 2013 UNIS-UN Conference, to be held in the General Assembly Hall at New York Headquarters on 7 and 8 March.


“Modern Youthquake:  A Generation’s Impact” is the theme of this year’s Conference, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days.  Joining Secretary-General Ban as speakers will be Corinne Woods, Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign; Sheena Matheiken, a member of the board of directors at Boulder Digital Works, a burgeoning digital school affiliated with the University of Colorado; Claudia López, renowned Colombian journalist and political analyst; Brandon Stanton, founder of the photography blog Humans of New York; Kiran Bir Sethi, Founder and Director of the Riverside School in Ahmedabad, India; as well as Chris Temple and Zach Ingrasci, co-founders and Executive Directors of Living on One.


The theme for this year’s Conference was chosen due to the notable increase in grass-roots organizations and movements affecting the younger generation.  The Conference will concentrate on ways in which to approach the concept of change from individual to worldwide perspectives.  It will examine how major changes can grow from the smallest beginnings.  The Conference also aims to address the young generation’s power to make its own positive change, not only today, but also into the future.  It will highlight the necessity of taking action, no matter one’s age, for the world’s benefit.


UNIS-UN is a student-run organization founded at the United Nations International School in 1976.  The committee coordinates an annual conference that calls attention to a contemporary global issue.  The event acts as a means of forging stronger connections between the school and the United Nations.  This year’s event will be the thirty-seventh in the series.  Approximately 600 students participate in the conference, including more than 150 visiting students from Argentina, Bermuda, Finland, Germany, Ghana, India, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Togo, United Kingdom and more than 30 other countries.


Ms. Sethi founded “aProCh”, an initiative that attempts to make cities more child-friendly, for which she was awarded the Ashoka Fellow in 2008.  In 2009, she was presented with the “Call to Conscience” award by the King Centre at Stanford University, for the citizenship/liberation curriculum implemented by her Riverside School.  Her initiative, Design for Change School Contest 2010, won the prestigious “INDEX–Design to Improve Life” award in Copenhagen, Denmark, in September 2011, and she is currently promoting the world’s largest “Design for Change” School Challenge, which has attracted more than 25 million children from 35 countries.  Design for Change won the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation Youth Innovation Award in 2012.


Brooklyn-based Ms. Matheiken was born in Ireland and raised in India.  She served in the digital design faculty at the Parsons School of Design, her alma mater, and now sits on the board of directors at Boulder Digital Works.  In 2009, she launched the Uniform Project, whereby she pledged to wear the same dress for a year as an exercise in sustainable fashion.  Designed as an online fundraiser platform, the project went viral and raised more than $100,000 for the Akanskha Foundation, a charitable educational organization in India.  Ms. Matheiken now heads her own design company, Matheiken Inc.


Ms. López’s research on the close links between paramilitaries and high-ranking Colombian politicians were decisive in uncovering the “parapolitica” scandal.  Involved in activities bridging the divide between academia and civil society activism, she has been an active member and researcher for Misión de Observación Electoral (MOE), a non-governmental organization promoting citizen monitoring of electoral processes in Colombia, and Nuevo Arco Iris, a think tank that studies the relationship between violence and politics in the country.  She is currently pursuing a doctorate in political science at Northwestern University.


Mr. Stanton traded bonds in Chicago for three years, before moving to New York.  In November 2010, he started the photography blog Humans of New York (HONY), and he has since taken more than 5,000 portraits of strangers on the streets of New York City.  Today HONY has more than 700,000 followers and is the world’s most popular photography blog, as well as the fastest growing arts and humanities page on Facebook.


Ms. Woods, currently a Director of the UN Millennium Campaign, which supports citizens’ efforts to hold Governments accountable for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, also leads outreach seeking the voices and concerns of citizens and stakeholders.  She previously served in a variety of positions at UNICEF, including Senior Adviser on the HIV/AIDS Global Campaign Coordination and Chief of Advocacy and Partnerships in India, the agency’s largest operation in that country.


Mr. Temple is an avid adventurer and big thinker who, during his gap year from university, worked for Grameen Trust to launch new microfinance organizations in New York, Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia before founding the student microfinance organization MFI Connect.  He is now applying all his experiences to the co-launch of Living on One, a non-profit production company that creates media to educate and inspire young people to confront global poverty.


Mr. Ingrasci’s journey to become a “disruptive storyteller” began while he was working for a small Mexican microfinance programme and ever since, he has continued to focus on the intersection of the creative arts, business and sustainable development.  His work experience includes strategy consulting at Deloitte Consulting LLP, as well as working for Freedom from Hunger in Ecuador and growing MFI Connect to become the world’s largest student microfinance network.


Living on One’s first feature film, Living on One Dollar, follows Mr. Ingrasci, Mr. Temple and two filmmakers as they try to live on just $1 a day for eight weeks in rural Guatemala.  The film’s teaser videos have received more than 620,000 views on YouTube, and the project has been featured in the Huffington Post, at TEDx Buenos Aires, and on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose.  Mr. Ingrasci and Mr. Temple recently toured the United States, speaking and hosting screenings of the film at 25 universities around the country.


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