Over the past few months, Angelina D. ’26 has been working diligently on a special initiative with the guidance of Aerie instructor Hannah Johnsen. Now, she is finally able to share the exciting news. “Our new chapter application to the United Nations Association of The United States of America [UNA-USA] was approved! Wheeler will be the first school to represent the state of Rhode Island at the United Nations!”
Angelina was attending the Plan International Youth Leadership Academy in Washington, D.C., last summer when she learned about the UNA-USA chapters. “While at the academy, I met an inspiring NGO [non-governmental organization] founder dedicated to establishing a UNA chapter within his university,” says Angelina. The conversation inspired her to delve deeper into the possibility of implementing a UNA chapter at Wheeler after she returned home from the conference.
“A United Nations Association chapter can play a pivotal role in fostering global awareness, understanding, and engagement within a school setting,” she shares. “It can take the lead in organizing and supporting educational programs that focus on international relations, human rights, global development, and ultimately, advance the work of the United Nations.” More specifically, Angelina sees the UNA chapter as an opportunity to actively support and spearhead campaigns aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other global initiatives, and to establish partnerships with other schools, NGOs, and international groups.
“A UNA-USA chapter at Wheeler will open doors for students interested in international diplomacy and debate,” she points out. “At Wheeler, we get involved in real-life issues as we recognize our strengths and use them to better our communities. Through the UNA chapter, Wheeler students will have a platform to connect with global leaders, advocate for themselves, and be accountable for their future.”
Angelina notes that encouraging collaborations between Wheeler clubs and student body organizations will be essential, and she looks forward to planning community events with other student associations, such as the Global Citizenship Club and Model UN.
Additionally, she envisions the chapter providing a range of activities, from workshops to seminars and guest lectures, that all aim to enrich students’ comprehension of global challenges. “Our overarching goal with UNA is to give Wheeler students a chance to make the change we wish to see in the world at a larger scale.”