On June 21, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs Penny Abeywardena announced the graduation of the first New York City Junior Ambassadors. The ceremony took place at the Queens Museum.
The program, implemented by the city in October 2015, educates seventh graders across the five boroughs about the roles of the United Nations.
Said Mayor de Blasio: “The NYC Junior Ambassadors program is preparing students to be global leaders. New York City has a long and proud history as host city of the UN—from its temporary home in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, to its permanent home on the east side of Manhattan. Today we celebrate not only the accomplishments of our Junior Ambassadors, but the deep and lasting connections this program creates with one of the world’s premier institutions.”
Now, as this group of seventh graders graduate, they are taking pledges to reduce their carbon footprints and hosting seminars to teach their fellow students about the importance of aiding refugees. The initiative, which includes 11 groups of seventh graders access to the UN community, is part of the effort by the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs to strengthen the connection between New Yorkers and the United Nations.
“To tackle the world’s most pressing challenges—from sustainable development to climate to humanitarian relief—we need engaged, thoughtful youth leaders involved in the process,” said Kathy Calvin, president and CEO of the United Nations Foundation. “I support the NYC Junior Ambassadors program because it is preparing the emerging generation of NYC youth leaders to help drive solutions to the issues that matter most.”