WNBA’s New UN Youth Rep: Shimma Almabruk

by Shimma Almabruk

I am a graduate student at Pace University’s MS in Publishing Program and the upcoming UN Youth Representative for the WNBA. Upon my acceptance into the program, I was awarded two merit-based scholarships: the President’s Graduate Scholarship and the David J. Pecker Publishing Scholarship. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Pace University with a BA in Communication Studies. In 2015, I joined the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society as one of Pace’s top 10% of students. During my undergraduate studies, I focused on and wrote research papers that pertained to how media affected and shaped consumers’ perceptions about the outside world, especially Muslims. Since then, I have developed an interest in activism and publishing.

Born and raised in Libya, and as a daughter of a diplomat, I have always aspired to work in the United Nations. I am extremely thrilled and honored to have been given the opportunity to serve as the Youth Representative for WNBA. I consider this opportunity as the starting point for accomplishing my dreams. I look forward to broadening my knowledge about global issues discussed in the UN briefings and to effectively report them back to WNBA.

United Nations Day

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Today is National United Nations Day! The 24th of October is honored in the United Nations as being a day to commemorate the organization’s work throughout the world since 1948. October 24th was chosen in particular because it is the anniversary the UN’s official start date. There’s a concert tonight in celebration of this occasion at the UN Assembly Hall with the theme of “Freedom First.”

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-2-27-00-pmCaitlin Morrow, a graduate of the MS in Publishing Program at Pace, is one of the UN representatives for the Women’s National Book Association and has this to add to the day’s recognition:

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For anyone looking to get involved, there’s still time as well to put in an application to be a UN Youth Representative for the WNBA.

 

Malala Day at the United Nations

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword

This is the compassion that I have learnt from Muhammad-the prophet of mercy, Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha. This is the legacy of change that I have inherited from Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. This is the philosophy of non-violence that I have learnt from Gandhi Jee, Bacha Khan and Mother Teresa. And this is the forgiveness that I have learnt from my mother and father. This is what my soul is telling me, be peaceful and love everyone.

— Malala Yousafzai

July 12, 2013 will go down in history as the first youth takeover of the United Nations. Over 500 young people between the ages of 13 and 24 from all over the globe were invited to the UN General Assembly to share, learn, and network on the global education crisis in an event called Malala Day, in honor of Malala Yousafzai. Over 56 million children in the world have never had access to education due to systemic cultural difficulties and a lack of resources. Even more children never make it passed primary school, and of those that do, many barely learn basic reading and math skills.  The numbers are so high and so widespread that we may not even know the true extent to which these problems reach.

As a UN Youth Representative for the WNBA and the daughter of a teacher, these problems are extremely close to my own heart. I have been lucky enough to have a supportive network with ample resources encouraging me to further my own education. Unfortunately the number of children who lack that same support is staggering.  Malala is one such case that deserves the world’s attention. In 2012, Malala was a bright young fifteen year old Pakistani girl with the world laid out in front of her. She believed in her right to education, and espoused those values on her personal blog. She identified the injustices against her gender, and shamed those who believe that women belong in the home rather than in the public sphere. One day on her way to school, male terrorists boarded her bus. They said, “Who is Malala?” and said that they would kill everyone aboard until they found her. These men shot Malala in the head along with two of her friends, because she dared to speak up on behalf of girls seeking an education. These men tried to silence her voice with force and violence.

They were not successful. Like a true-life superhero, Malala miraculously survived the attack and recovered after being moved to the United Kingdom. While some might have been silenced after such a despicable outbreak of violence, Malala has shown courage, bravery, and eloquence beyond her years. She came to the UN for this event- her first public appearance since the attack- and has strengthened her position on universal education for all. She credits her faith, parental support, and moral conviction for her recovery and bravery.

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For the full video of Malala’s speech, click here.

There was hardly a dry eye in the room as Malala spoke in front of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, her parents, and her peers. She inspired us all to take a stand for education both in our personal lives and in the global sphere for others. As we learned throughout the day at subsequent information fairs and panels, universal education has the potential to fix other problems such as poverty, health, and food shortages. With education those in developing countries could help fix the high mortality rates of pregnant females in their communities, learn sustainable agrarian techniques to feed the hungry, and practice leadership to address local problems within their societies. It all starts with education. It is Malala’s goal to have every child in school by 2015. She presented a petition with millions of signatures to the UN hoping to achieve that goal. Click here to sign Malala’s petition, sponsored by A World at School.

I couldn’t have been happier to meet with young people from around the world who shared my interests in global education. To hear their own stories about educational problems in their home countries was nothing short of heartbreaking. At the information fair I learned of campaigns from the Girl Scouts to help empower girls abroad, met with representatives from UNESCO to learn about their educational initiatives, and talked toWomen Thrive Worldwide about their awareness campaigns on women and education. Following the information fair we could choose different panels to attend. I participated in a grass-roots organizing workshop, in which we were given a topic and as a team worked together to develop a campaign around it, guided by the United Nations Girls Education Initiative. Following this workshop I participated in an online organizing event sponsored by A World at School and UNICEF. Different presenters, including Girl Rising and President Obama’s 2012 Social Media Director, talked about the importance of online communication and the best practices for building an audience for awareness campaigns.

Malala Day was one of the best days of my short professional career, as I got the chance to learn and grow with people from all over the world. I am so grateful for the opportunity to participate and will hold Malala’s virtues in my heart forever. Her courage and bravery in the face of systemic cultural violence is an inspiration to all.

By Jenna Vaccaro, Graduate Assistant at Pace University’s publishing program. Please find her on Linked In for more information.

World Press Freedom Day

May 3rd is World Press Freedom Day, a United Nations observance day meant to help us think about the dangers reporters and media workers face for reporting on controversial issues. All over the globe people are punished for reporting the truth in their countries. Freedom of speech is not a right for everyone, and it is important to recognize the dangers reporters and publishers face for expressing their opinions. We take for granted the fact that as Americans we can simply publish what we want without much fear of repercussion.

This year, UNESCO honors imprisoned Ethiopian journalist Reeyot Alemu for her work on reporting on poverty, gender, and equality in Africa. She opened her own publishing house and magazine in 2010, and was arrested in June of 2011 with a five year jail sentence. Reeyot’s story is not unique- reporters all over the world are jailed for expressing the truth. Take a look at Human Rights First’s information on other reporters in similar situations, some of whom are in jail and some of whom have been silenced forever.

 

Social Storytelling in the Age of Data – Meaning and Momentum

If you want to change the world, you have to change the story.

– Wendy Levy, New Arts Axis

WNBA United Nations Youth Representatives Jenna Vaccaro and Diana Cavallo attended a fascinating day of programming at UN Headquarters designed to give NGOs the tools to create meaningful media that has real impact. Be it in the political, NGO, or business world the change has come- any entity that does not have an online media presence is behind the times and unlikely to succeed. Consumers rarely trust a company with few followers or positive comments. However, having a million followers is meaningless if your content does not inspire people to act. A brand with a small following and empowering content can have much better impact than a large one that does not prepare its followers to act.UN

Wendy Levy of New Arts Axis, leader of the presentations, says that the audience is no longer an audience. The best way to engage the “people formerly known as an audience” is to participate with them through social media and prepare them with tools and motivation to take action. Attendees were treated to presentations by technologists and artists who have an eye for social justice and change. Filmmakers Dara Kell and Chris Johnson showed multimedia projects that had succeeded in achieving their goals of social change. Chris Johnson’s project Question Bridge started as a museum exhibition and grew into an online phenomenon documenting young black men’s questions for the older generation around issues of racism, injustice, and stereotyping. The project allowed young unknown men to connect with well-established civil rights leaders and lets the world in on their meaningful dialogue. Dara Kell’s documentary Dear Mandela chronicles the first post-apartheid generation of South Africa. The main takeaway from these multimedia projects is that the conversation should not end after you view a film or read a book- you must create a dialogue and give people the mechanisms to share the idea and become involved.

Google employee Eric Doversberger began the afternoon session by discussing the way NGOs can use data visualization to leverage more funding, fans, and impact. There are many Google applications that can help you create meaningful transmedia projects. In an effort to make people aware of drug violence in Mexico, authorities released numerical data on murders in their country. Combined with the power of Google maps and ingenuity from the tech teams of newspapers, people are now able to see trends in location and timing laid out in map format. It is believed that the visualization of this data is more influential than a simple number because you can see the full scope and size of the problem. Here are some other web apps discussed for using and visualizing data.

  • Tableau Public– A free data visualization system that represents static information for reports, websites, and publications.
  • Gephi– Another free visualization system that can handle more complex computations and more customizable representations.
  • Sparkwi.se– This free and extremely user-friendly system can populate your data directly from sources like Facebook and Google Analytics and updates itself in real-time. E.G, if you update your member list, your data visualization automatically updates at the same time.

By Jenna Vaccaro,  a Graduate Assistant at Pace University’s publishing program. She loves the intersection of media and technology and hopes to build a career combining the two fields. Jenna previously worked at the Smithsonian Museum of Asian Art and volunteers her time at NGOs like the WNBA and Girls Educational Mentoring Services (GEMS.) She loves science-fiction and horror novels. Please find her on Linked In for more information.

WNBA United Nations Youth Advocates

The WNBA-NYC chapter is happy to announce our two new WNBA DPI/NGO United Nations Youth Representatives for 2013, two Pace MS in Publishing Students!

Diana Cavallo is a graduate student in Pace University’s Masters in Publishing program. She completed her undergraduate education at Pace University’s Pleasantville campus in May of 2012, with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications and a minor in Creative Writing. Diana was the Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning Pforzheimer Honors College newsletter, SCHOLASTICA, and a featured writer in VOX Literary & Arts magazine. She has held publishing internship positions with The Association of American Publishers and Nancy Yost Literary Agency. Diana will also begin an exciting Social Media internship with Simon & Schuster in the spring of 2013.

Diana is very grateful to have been chosen as a Youth Representative for the Women’s National Book Association to the United Nations. She was interested in this position because of her longtime passion for reading and writing, and desire to help others through charity work. Diana greatly respects the Women’s National Book Association’s literacy and awareness objectives and their emphasis on educating youth about developments in the book community. As a young woman entering publishing, she hopes to use this proactive outlet to help the voices and concerns of female readers be heard and appreciated. In her future career, she plans to focus on the editorial, publicity and marketing aspects of the field, in both book and magazine publishing. Ultimately, Diana hopes to become a bestselling novelist and children’s book author.

Jenna Vaccaro is a Graduate Assistant at Pace University pursuing a Master’s of Science in Publishing. She explored her passion for news, politics, and media through her undergraduate attendance at American University in Washington DC. She ultimately graduated with a major in Law and Society, and a minor in Sociology.  Throughout college, Jenna worked part time at the Smithsonian’s Asian art museums, the Freer and Sackler Galleries of Art. Her first experience with professional publishing was through a college internship at the American Humanist Association. As an intern for the magazine The Humanist, Jenna learned about the role of an editor, the design of a magazine, and the circulation of a periodical.

Jenna is absolutely ecstatic to be working with the Woman’s National Book Association as one of its Youth Representatives for the United Nations. After working in an international museum exploring different cultures, this is a perfect outlet to focus those years of research, work, and study. With her interest in government and society, there is no better way to combine all of her past intellectual interests into one perfect internship. Jenna hopes to learn more about working with other NGOs, spread the message of the United Nations and the Department of Public Information, and meet other motivated young people. As a member of the Woman’s National Book Association, Jenna cannot wait to start empowering women home and abroad through literacy and publishing.