Earlier this year, Sun Lee, a health sciences major from South Korea, learned about the United Nations College Leaders Program.
The summer experience, now in its third year, was developed for Korean nationals and includes 28 students. The cohort is divided into six working groups that research and jointly author a paper on a U.N. -appointed subject. Each year the program culminates in late August when participants meet at the U.N. headquarters in New York City to present their findings and attend a series of lectures and discussions.
Participating in the program would allow Lee, who moved to California during his sophomore year in high school to live with a host family, to reconnect with his native country. And the research aligned with his interest in public health.
But it was expensive.
Lee met with the Internship Office and the departments of Health Sciences and Politics and International Affairs. Collectively, they were able to fund the experience.
“I was really impressed with how several departments worked together to help me,” says Lee. “I don’t think you would get that at other schools. Furman really cares about providing excellent experiences.”
Throughout the summer, Lee worked in Thailand but Skyped regularly with the four members of his group who lived in South Korea. Selected as a team leader, Lee organized meetings, made assignments and guided his team’s research on global citizenship sustainable development and global citizenship education.
The group traveled to New York City Aug. 21-25 where they met members of the other five working groups, presented their findings and attended lectures and discussions on education, sustainable cities and communities and peace and justice. Lee said students from several South Korean universities, Columbia University and New York University participated.
During their five -day stay members of the college leaders program engaged with delegates from Norway, Botswana, Haiti, South Korea and Australia. Lee undoubtedly made an impression. He presented for his group and received the U.N.’s best representative award. Lee plans to present the group’s research and recount his experience at Furman Engaged! April 10, an annual event that celebrates and showcases undergraduate research.
“I was able to see how U.N. policy is debated and made. In particular, I saw how education, research and policy writers all work together,” says Lee. “I want to help shape public health policy through epidemiologic research, so this experience was very valuable to me.”