UN Youth Assembly Recap

FIT students Ishani Shah and Ryan Donohue don’t just want to learn about social development issues, but also solve them.

Ishani, Director of Sustainability, and Ryan, Treasurer for SGA, participated in the 2018 Winter Youth Assembly at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York City from Feb. 14-16. The three-day conference brought together around 1,000 youth volunteers from more than 100 countries to discuss the importance of innovation, civic engagement, and collaborative partnerships.

The 21st session of the annual event focused on the theme, Innovation and Collaboration for a Sustainable World, and looked in depth at five goals on the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development:

  • Clean water and sanitation;
  • Affordable and clean energy;
  • Sustainable cities and communities;
  • Responsible consumption and production; and,
  • Life on land (protecting ecosystems).

“The purpose of the conference is to not only discuss ideas, but also how they can be applicable in your country. What works in one country might not work in another because every country has a different set of economic indicators, such as life expectancy, income levels, and population.” said Ishani.

“The world is such a vast place and with all that goes on right here in NYC it is sometimes easy to forget the problems that many people face. Participating in the youth assembly allowed me to see the world in a more global perspective and let me connect with other youth who are passionate about global change” Ryan added.

Ishani is working on trying to bridge the gap between international organisations like the United Nations, WHO  with well recognised institutions like FIT. She strongly feels that FIT students have a great potential to be a voice at these institutions. The UN Youth Assembly conference is a means of coming together and brainstorming ways to innovate, collaborate, and co-create social impact globally.

A conversation that might change the world

Both Shah and Donohue are well-equipped to discuss social development. Ishani is a student representative on the President’s Sustainability Council, Faculty Senate Council on Sustainability, Student Code of Conduct Council and Chairs the Fashion Revolution Committee at FIT. She also Vice chairs the Grad Week committee. She has been working on plans to make Orientation week more sustainable and Grad week more sustainable.

Ryan is a board member for the Student Faculty Corporation which is a non profit organization, sits on the finance and development committee for the SUNY Student Assembly and is vice chair of the semi formal committee. He is also a recipient of the Elaine Stone Scholarship at FIT for that is awarded to an FBM major who excels academically and plans to pursue a career in the retail industry. Ryan will be interning with retail giant Macy’s this summer and hopes to implement what he learned at the conference there.



“Accountability starts with governments. I strongly recommend FIT students and Students around the world to join the GEM Report’s Campaign on Right to Education.(Link- https://en.unesco.org/gem-report/report/2017/accountability-education)

Where you are born shouldn’t determine what kind of opportunities you get. AMPLIFY, ADVOCATE and ASK. Be the change you want to see in this world! I’m looking forward to learning more about the intersection of business and global development at an organization as well-known and experienced as the United Nations.”

“AT FIT, you don’t only learn about fashion, you learn about sustainable fashion and the societal aspects of it too. We need students at FIT to be socially responsible students and vigilant and responsible world citizens who make a positive impact on this world.” She concludes.