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Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 9:45am

On December 4, 2019, Mercy College’s Center for Global Engagement hosted an event in celebration of the Human Rights Day titled “Climate Action is a Human Right – The Role of the Youth” at the MercyManhattan Campus. The event highlighted how young people are making a difference globally by bringing awareness to the importance of environmental sustainability, and how climate action is a human right.

The event featured two youth leaders as panelists, including one Mercy student, who participate in United Nations (UN) youth programs. Annie Deng, a journalist and co-chair for the UN youth representatives steering committee for the UN climate action summit, and Mariama Darboe ’20, Mercy College youth representative to the UN and UN intern, discussed the need for younger generations to unify around climate action.

They also provided practical actions that individuals can do daily to help the environment, such as cutting down on the use of plastic. “If we make a concerted effort, we can still save the earth,” said Deng.

Speaking to her experience as a UN intern, Darboe informed audience of the job opportunities in the climate action and environmental sustainability fields. She described how the UN acts as a consultant to governments on how to best to address issues of conservation, and how several other companies and organization do similar work.

Mercy College Lecturer and Visiting Fellow for UN Affairs to the Center Michiko Kuroda coordinated the event, as well as moderated the panel. “I was pleased to demonstrate that youth can make a difference by expressing their informed views with others, motivating their peers and organizing impactful actions. Seeing our youth take such interest in the topic of climate action, and demonstrate real expertise, makes me hopeful for the future of our environment,” said Kuroda.

Associate Dean of the Mercy School of Business Abdel-Kader Ben-Mohamed brought several members of his marketing class to the discussion, striving to emphasize the connection between sustainability and business for his students. “I believe that the green industry is growing and will soon be the very best industry in business. And, the green industry will produce jobs, promoting a greater green economy,” said Ben-Mohamed.

MercyManhattan Vice President Brian Johnson looks forward to continuing to host similar events at the newly renovated Campus. “I appreciate seeing such a stimulating panel take place at the MercyManhattan Campus, especially with young people leading the conversation,” said Johnson. “I envision MercyManhattan as a place where students, faculty, and New York City community members will partake in discussions covering pertinent issues, including climate action, and together develop solutions to better our society.”

Human Rights Day officially takes place on Tuesday, December 10 this year and commemorates the UN’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.