FDU faculty work at the United Nations

Fairleigh Dickinson University’s connection to the United Nations dates all the way back to the UN’s founding. Students and faculty have gone to the UN and its ambassadors have visited most of FDU’s campuses over the years. Above, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks at the College at Florham in 2008. (Photo by Dan Landau)

By Catherine Krawiec and Dan Landau

A scant three years older than the United Nations, Fairleigh Dickinson University has had a connection with the UN since its inception. FDU’s founder, Peter Sammartino, brought students to the newly-established UN in the 1940s and indeed, he himself may have been present when the UN Charter was signed in San Francisco, Calif., in 1945. Since the 1940s, the connection between FDU and the UN has become what UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described in a 2008 visit to FDU as a “well-worn path,” as countless ambassadors have visited FDU’s campuses and students have continued visiting the UN. 

Today, FDU enjoys special consultative status as a Non-governmental organization (NGO) with the UN’s NGO Committee of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), allowing FDU to appoint official delegates to UN committees and attend meetings and international conferences. When first granted in 2009, FDU was the only university in the world to have this status.
One of FDU’s delegates is Ronald Calissi, executive associate dean of Petrocelli College and director of the School of Administrative Science, and he serves on the NGO Committee on Criminal Justice and Crime Prevention on the executive board.
“It’s very rewarding to work with these dedicated and devoted people who believe in correcting injustices,” he says. “This committee is made up of authentic leaders who are striving to make a difference all around the world through the UN and the committee is a great vehicle for that.”
The work Calissi does also translates to the classroom. “I use examples of the UN with the initiatives they’re involved with in my classes,” says Calissi. “I am able to use a lot of comparisons to explain global thinking, that is doing small things while focusing on the big picture.” 
A number of FDU faculty and staff members serve on NGO committees at the UN in areas of particular interest to them. Their roles include sharing expertise to enhance the knowledge base of each committee, making presentations and supporting the experiential learning and networking interests of FDU.
Some of the several FDU faculty and staff members serving on committees at the UN include:  
  • Frank Brunetti, professor of accounting, taxation and law, currently serves on a committee to revise the UN Manual for Tax Treaty Negotiations.
  • Zhaobao “Bob” Wang, associate professor of information systems and decision sciences, has accompanied many student delegations to UN briefings and conferences.
“I think that the partnership reminds students that they need to be part of the solution to global challenges — not just bystanders. This starts with being informed and engaged,” says Jason Scorza, vice provost of global learning.  The partnership that FDU has created with the UN has provided students with endless learning opportunities. 

There have been over 200 UN-related events at the Metropolitan Campus and the College at Florham since 2002. Through the Office of Global Learning, there are numerous opportunities for students, including internships and volunteer openings, with the UN and the UN Student Alliance. In the past, students in the UN Student Alliance group have attended conferences and briefings held at the UN headquarters in New York City. 

Feature Story from the FDU Newsroom

FDU Office of Public Relations

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Dickinson Hall, Room 3365, H-DH3-14, Teaneck, NJ 07666

Dina Schipper,
Director of Public Relations
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Kenna Caprio,
Communications Writer
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Helen Grill,
Senior General Clerk
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FDU Office of Public Relations

   (College at Florham Office)
Public Relations Building, M-PR1-01, Madison, NJ 08450

Scott Giglio,
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Daniel Landau,
Public Relations Assistant
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