Creating global diplomats, locally

Through NYC Junior Ambassadors, the NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs is creating global diplomats, locally.

In October of 2015, in celebration of United Nations Day, the NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs announced the launch of NYC Junior Ambassadors. This unique initiative brings NYC students closer to the United Nations by activating a set of 7th grade classes from across the five boroughs to participate in the UN’s mission in addressing some of today’s most pressing challenges-from climate change to the refugee crisis. NYC recognizes the powerful role youth can play in shaping the world around us, as future leaders and as change agents.

Through this program each and every student is empowered to use their voice, and to take concrete action, to bring about positive change in their communities during a critical time in their personal and intellectual growth. In an increasingly interconnected and globalized world, it is more important than ever for students to learn about multilateralism and diplomacy as tools for a more peaceful planet. In addition, the program showcases how the diplomatic community adds to the international fabric and vibrant diversity of NYC.

Meet the 2016–2017 NYC Junior Ambassadors Cohort:

Following a successful inaugural year with eleven sites around the city, the program has now expanded to include twenty classrooms and after-school programs. Meet the 2016–2017 cohort here.

Commissioner Abeywardena greets NYC Junior Ambassadors at the UN

Check out what some past participants of the NYC Junior Ambassadors program had to say! Make sure to stay tuned for future updates from the program and follow the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs on Twitter @GlobalNYC and on Tumblr!

NYC Junior Ambassadors gain a behind-the-scenes look at the work of the UN

NYC Junior Ambassadors gain a behind-the-scenes look at the work of the United Nations through curated tours at the UN campus and visits to their schools in neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs by Ambassadors to the UN!

Through special access to the UN and engagement with senior diplomats, hundreds of students act as representatives of NYC, pledging to do their part to create a better city and a more equitable world.

In engaging these inquisitive students at their schools and in their classrooms, Ambassadors to the UN are also learning about NYC’s diverse neighborhoods while building a connection with the school community.

One student in Staten Island commenting on the visit of Ambassador Rycroft, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations, to her school in 2016, said,

“We can make a change and I think that was the most helpful piece of advice he gave us.”

After Ambassador Flores, Permanent Representative of Panama to the UN, visited an all-girls classroom in the Bronx last year, a student said,

“It showed me that we are leaders and can continue to be leaders in the future. We can help change the world.”
NYC Junior Ambassadors received visits to their classrooms from senior diplomats and Ambassadors to the UN. (Top to bottom: Ambassador Flores, Permanent Representative of Panama to the United Nations, greets students in the Bronx; Ambassador Rycroft, Permanent Representative of the UK to the United Nations, greets students in Staten Island).

NYC Junior Ambassadors are Global Citizens

NYC Junior Ambassadors classrooms and after-school programs study about important global issues such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, climate change, the global refugee crisis, human rights and the importance of democracy. Through interactive learning and opportunities to engage experts at the UN and senior diplomats and Ambassadors, these students are gaining the confidence to see themselves as global citizens.

One NYC Junior Ambassador from the inaugural cohort had the opportunity to address a Peace Day Youth Summit, sharing the knowledge she learned as part of the program and her commitment to work towards a more peaceful world with her peers, while others exhibited their original artwork at the UN and spoke to world leaders about the importance of climate action.

NYC Junior Ambassador from the inaugural cohort addressing a Peace Day Youth Summit

Educators: beyond the traditional classroom setting

Educators are provided with professional development opportunities to learn about integrating the work of the United Nations into their curriculum and engaging youth on global issues.

NYC Junior Ambassadors Graduate Poised to Tackle Global Issues

NYC Junior Ambassadors attend a special year-end celebration and receive a certificate acknowledging their participation in the program. During the graduation ceremony, all participating classrooms and after-school programs showcase their end-of-the-year projects.

Last year, NYC Junior Ambassadors from the inaugural cohort had the opportunity to explain their projects to Ambassador Samantha Power, former U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at the year-end event at the Queens Museum.


Thank you to our partners at the NYC Department of Education, the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development, the United Nations, and the United Nations Foundation, as well as the Selection Committee comprised of local and international leaders who share a commitment to empowering youth through strong connections with the United Nations, for making this program possible!

Guest post by Deanna Bitetti, NYC Office of International Affairs

Like what you read? Give United Nations a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.