ISF 2015 | Health & Education: Keys to Development


ISF 2015: “Health and Education: Keys to Development”

The 12th International Solidarity Forum took place in New York from March 23-26, 2015. The theme of the ISF was ‘Health and Education: Keys to Development and brought together members from across the world, experts on issues related to health and education and diplomats.

In addition to expert lectures and UN-style negotiations to draft a declaration on health and education, World Youth Alliance held an advocacy training and in-depth trainings on FEMM and the Human Dignity Curriculum (HDC), a curriculum designed to help students develop a proper understanding of themselves, their great worth as persons and the responsibility they have to act in accordance with their dignity.

Outcome Document: Declaration on Health and Education

Why Health and Education?

Quality healthcare and education are among the most important ingredients for human development. When people live healthy lives and are able to acquire knowledge both in skills and life, they are better equipped to contribute to society. The 2015 ISF looked into the right healthcare and education practices.

The next set of development goals for Post-2015 were underway. It was important for young people to understand issues surrounding health and education. WYA is developing solutions to flawed policies and practices in the areas of health and education, and the ISF focused on equipping participants with knowledge and tools to work for change in their respective countries.

Conference format

Expert speakers on issues of health and education in development

  • WYA Advocacy Training on current issues at the international policy level
  • FEMM training
  • In-depth training on WYA’s Human Dignity Curriculum
  • UN-style negotiations to draft a new WYA Declaration on the Family
  • Tour of the United Nations
  • WYA Chamber Orchestra concert
  • Film screening at the United Nations featuring winners of WYA’s 2015 Manhattan International Film Festival

Related WYA events prior to the ISF

Note: WYA invites you to join these other events as part of your ISF experience.

Conference Schedule

  • March 23: Expert lectures on health and education, and Advocacy Academy
  • March 24: Expert lectures on health and education in development, and an introduction to FEMM and HDC.
  • March 25: Expert lectures on health and education in development, negotiations, informal tour of the UN and evening WYA Orchestra concert and Film Screening at the UN.
  • March 26: Negotiations and adoption of the declaration on health and education, and evening cocktail and reception at WYA house.


Conference Speakers

ISF2015Speaker_Bob Robert F Scanlon Jr, MD, MBA, FACOGDr. Robert F. Scanlon JR is the director of women’s health and chair of department of obstetrics and gynecology at North Shore LIJ Huntington Hospital. He is also an Assistant Clinical Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology at North Shore LIJ Hofstra School of Medicine. He serves on the board of numerous organizations, including West Africa Fistula Foundation, Maternal Life International and Fertility Education and Medical Management.
Deb-Ohara Deb O’Hara-Rusckowski, MBA, RN, BSNDeb is a Critical Care RN for over 30 years. She earned both her BSN and an MBA from Northeastern University in Boston (’82 and ’94 respectively) and held several marketing positions at Hewlett Packard, Agilent and Marquette Electronics. Deb graduated from Boston College 05/14 with her Masters in Theology. Deb enjoys philanthropic work. She spent 4 years on the Board of the American Heart Association, and 5 years on the Board of Directors for Boston’s Healthcare for the Homeless Program. Deb is a member of the Federal Disaster Medical Team and was deployed to NYC on 9/11/01. She has been on missions to Bosnia twice and the Dominican Republic 6 times.Deb initiated a nursing educational program in June 2007 at CRUDEM’s Hôpital Sacré Coeur in Haiti, and continues to work to improving nursing. She spent several weeks working in Haiti post-earthquake, as well as on the USNS Comfort ship for Project HOPE. She currently works for the United Nations on the Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons (CSTIP.) Deb also sits on the Jerome Lejeune Foundation Board, RAD-AID Board, Steering Committee for the Sisters of Life, and is leading a media project with Cardinal Dolan and Catholic Voices. Deb is a member of the American Association Order of Malta and serves on the Board of Councilors.Deb was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, grew up mostly in Boston and now resides in New York City. She is married to Steve, have two grown children, Lauren and Joe, along with their golden retriever, Lilly.
staff_0012_anna Anna Halpine, WYA FounderAnna Halpine is the founder of the World Youth Alliance and was the WYA president from 1999 to the spring of 2007. She has her Masters in Philosophy of Religion from Yale University (2009), and a Bachelor of Music, cum laude, from Mt. Allison University in Canada (1999). She has studied piano at the Taubman Institute and voice at the Juilliard School. As Founder and past-president of WYA, Anna has traveled and lectured extensively.
ISF2015Speaker_Rebekah Rebekah KosinskiRebekah is an advocacy consultant at Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDG-F), UNDP. Before joining the SDG-Fund, Rebekah was acting as the Director of Marketing & Public Relations at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden. She has twelve years of professional experience in International Development mainly with the United Nations & the Office of the Quartet Representative. She has worked within the humanitarian, human rights, education, cultural, business development, capacity and peace-building fields, focusing on project management, advocacy, communications, operations as well as donor and public relations. Following her BA in History of Art and Architecture, Rebekah moved to Jerusalem to commence her career with UNDP’s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP) which is a responsive development agency that works together with the Palestinians to fulfil their aspiration for sustainable human development based on self-determination, equality and freedom. Rebekah worked in close collaboration with UNDP’s Special Representative and was involved in the overall administration and execution of varied and inter-related programme activities.