NEW YORK CITY—November 1, 2012. Over 150 people attended the World Youth Alliance North America Emerging Leaders Conference, which took place October 20th-22nd. The conference sought to familiarize the public with WYA’s annual theme of sustainable development through engaging lectures, community gatherings, and cultural activities. Conference organizers invited attendees to consider that in order for development to be truly sustainable, it must be person-centered. This reflected the position proposed by the WYA delegation at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio this past June. The Emerging Leaders Conference (ELC), now in its second year of existence, has seen growth in attendance and an increase in enthusiasm from participants.
The weekend opened on October 20th with a concert performance by the WYA Chamber Orchestra. Young musicians from the Pre-College Julliard Program and the Manhattan School of Music performed a selection of pieces from Mozart, Grieg, and Tchaikovsky. In her opening remarks, Emily Matich, North American Director of Operations, said the musicians “are a witness to us of the power of human creativity and remind us of the role of beauty in building more free and just societies.”
On Sunday October 21st, the ELC was marked by the 2nd annual 5K Run for Dignity on Roosevelt Island. Over 40 runners joined the pack to show their support for promoting human dignity in policy and culture. The race’s top finisher, Brandon Payne, a 24-year-old 24-year-old graduate student at Fordham University, completed the 5K course with a time of 18:42. When asked what brought him to the race, Payne said, “I wanted to support WYA and have fun doing it. The Run for Dignity was the perfect way to meet others interested in WYA’s mission.” A full list of runners’ times can be found by clicking here. This family friendly event was made possible through the generous funding of the Knights of Columbus, in addition to the support of race day volunteers from St. Vincent Ferrer High School.
The ELC concluded with a panel discussion at Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus. The event marked the release of the WYA white paper on sustainable development. Sponsored by the World Youth Alliance Fordham Chapter, now an official club on campus, the event drew in many students from the university community. Moderated by WYA Director of Advocacy, Elyssa Koren, the panel featured Fordham University Department of Economics faculty member, Dr. Henry Schwalbenberg, International Economist, Ms. Vincenzina Santoro, and WYA President, Obadias Ndaba.
Photos from the ELC can be found on the WYA Facebook page album.