FDU Gains Special Status at the United Nations

Teaneck, NJ (January 28, 2009) — Fairleigh Dickinson University was approved for “special consultative status” by the NGO Committee of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations on January 23, 2009.

FDU is the first comprehensive institution of higher learning in the world to receive this distinction. This special consultative status is granted to non-governmental organizations with special competence in the fields of activity covered by ECOSOC.

FDU President J. Michael Adams said, “As a result of this new status, FDU will gain further distinction among institutions of higher education, in the NGO community and in the corridors of the United Nations. FDU will be invited to send delegates to international conferences and meetings, students will have access to volunteer and internship opportunities in the NGO sector, and I will be able to nominate faculty experts as consultants on issues under study by ECOSOC. This partnership remains a cornerstone of our global education and our global vision."

FDU works directly with the United Nations and other global NGOs and IGOs to leverage higher education on behalf of social and economic development. At present, FDU administrators and faculty are working with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Department of Public Information to develop a new U.N. Academic Impact Initiative, conceived to help the UN build stronger ties with institutions of higher learning around the world and use the resources of the global higher education sector to promote UN goals.

In addition, the university is working with the United Nations Special Advisor on Africa and Countries in Special Need to develop an initiative to enable people from Africa and the Least Developed Countries to receive specialized training from relevant institutions of higher learning in the United States, other developed countries and fellow developing countries.

President Adams, the president-elect of The International Association of University Presidents [IAUP], is active on The World Bank’s higher education thematic group [COREHEG], to develop an innovative program to support regional development through capacity building investment in higher education.

The university’s NGO Pathways program will be strengthened by increased interaction with representatives of high level NGOs.

It is a program that exists to increase student understanding of the significant role assumed by NGOs in addressing many of the world's most difficult issues at the grassroots level, offer exposure at the UN and within NGO settings to students to observe and experience NGOs in action; and provide hands-on opportunities for student involvement in problem-solving with issues such as poverty, hunger, health, education, disaster relief, global peace and disarmament.

The Office of Global Learning submitted the application and the project was led by Associate Provost for Global Learning Jason Scorza and U.N. Program Coordinator Jo Anne Murphy.

“This process,” said Scorza, “grew out of our desire to build upon our work with the United Nations, where we have been affiliated with the UN Department of Public Information since 2002. This new relationship with ECOSOC creates exciting opportunities for students to engage in volunteer and service learning activities and for faculty to contribute their expertise to major issues on the UN agenda."

According to Murphy, “FDU has broader direct access to senior UN staff, UN delegates and potential for service to the UN in an advisory capacity. The university is now a full member of the Conference of Non-governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the UN, the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security, the NGO Committee on Human Rights and the NGO Committee on Indigenous Peoples.”

President Adams added, “Our institution’s founder, Peter Sammartino, believed that developing a strong partnership with the United Nations was an important part of FDU’s global mission. Today, this partnership remains a cornerstone of our global vision.”

Final approval took place at the July meeting of ECOSOC in Geneva.


ECOSOC is the principal organ to coordinate economic, social, and related work of the 14 UN specialized agencies, functional commissions and five regional commissions. It serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to Member States and the United Nations system. With its broad mandate the Council’s purview extends to over 70 per cent of the human and financial resources of the entire UN system.

To view the UN press release announcing FDU status, visit


To view FDU’s Office of Global Learning initiatives, visit


For Immediate Release

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Gretchen Johnson
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Scott Giglio
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