Miami Delegation Attends 2018 Humanitarian Affairs University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Bangkok

By Kristin Magyari, Assistant Director for Communications & Marketing, Global Initiatives

August 1–7, 2018, Karla Guinigundo, Director of Global Partnerships, and a delegation of five Miami students attended the Humanitarian Affairs University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) in Bangkok, Thailand. Global Initiatives sponsored each student’s registration which included housing and most meals. The Miami Family Fund also provided students with a $1000 travel award.

students holding Miami flagThe group consisted of the following students, pictured left to right in the photo with the Miami flag:

  • Carly Zeis | Zoology, Computer Information Technology
  • Emily Froude | International Studies
  • Sydney Chuen | International Studies, French
  • Emily Tatum | Political Science, International Studies
  • Alexandra Reilly | Diplomacy and Global Politics

Students from 87 countries unite to make change

Miami student at symposiumHeld at the United Nations Convention Center in Bangkok, the symposium held sessions focused on issues of global humanitarian concern. More than 1,000 students from 87countries participated. Student participants represented a wide spectrum of academic specializations ranging from international studies and engineering to pre-med, IT, and environmental science.

Rising sophomore, Emily Froude, said, “Everyone’s primary focus is to work on meshing sustainable development and humanitarian causes. The students I met all have different interests, but one goal.” 

“The conference opened up a lot of questions for me. There are areas of the world I want to learn more about and keep in mind as I continue through my international studies classes at Miami,” she added.

Watch the official conference video

Themed "Inspiring Confidence, Inspire Change", this was the 9th annual conference. View the recap video and notice Miami student, Emily Tatum, appears at 2:47.


Miami’s Perspective

Miami students with Karla in front of statue in BangkokMiami student with student from China in BangkokThis is the second year that Miami University has sent a student delegation to USLS.

“The draw of the symposium is the opportunity for Miami students to learn about the UN Sustainable Development Goals in context,” Guinigundo said. “Sessions held inside the UN Headquarters in Bangkok give students the opportunity to engage with UN staff alongside peers from around the world and hear from speakers who have implemented action in response to humanitarian concerns.”

Froude continued, “Being in a room with so many young people raises many different ideas and conversations. I appreciated that the speakers said we can start small. We don’t have to start a nonprofit tomorrow. But we all have goals to go out into the world, accomplish sustainability and humanitarian initiatives, and make a difference, so if we start having these types of conversations and networking with others in the field now, we can work up toward our goals during and after graduating from college.”

Aside from a spectrum of sessions at the conference, students participated in a day of service learning and chose from 12 project options such as painting schools, cleaning up waterways, and interacting with organizations that serve disabled and underprivileged children.

Emily Froude befriended a fellow delegate, a student from China, and they helped to repaint a school during the service learning day of the symposium.

Froude noted, “This experience wouldn’t have been possible for me without the support of Miami.” Global Initiatives plans to continue supporting Miami student participation in USLS.

Do you have a passion for gaining a global perspective through programming such as the University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Bangkok?

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