Master of Social Work student Sarah Delannoy is taking her concerns to a global stage. She’ll join youth representatives from around the world in giving voice to the issues of importance to the rising generation.

Sarah Delannoy holding her UN identification pass

Sarah Delannoy, a graduate student in Adelphi’s Master of Social Work program, wants to help the world’s teens.

That’s why she’s thrilled to have been chosen as a youth representative for the United Nations. She is one of more than 550 young people from 100 countries who are giving voice to the issues of concern to the planet’s youth.

“I’m really passionate about youth engagement and working with adolescents,” said Delannoy, who expects to graduate from the MSW program this spring. The primary issue she believes needs to be addressed around the globe among youth is mental health.

“The pandemic was hard on young people all around the world,” she said. She hopes her UN experience will help her address the barriers to mental health care from a global perspective. “There are different stigmas against mental health care in cultures around the world, and we need to figure what the barriers are and how to address them.”

Delannoy is one of two Adelphi students who began serving as youth representatives in February. She and Nino Burjanadze, a sophomore in the University’s Levermore Global Scholars program majoring in political science, will continue their roles at the UN through January 2024. Their participation in the program is part of Adelphi’s long and active history with the United Nations.

Adelphi’s strong UN connection

The University is a charter member of the Academic Impact Program, a partnership between the UN and more than 1,400 universities. Established in 2011, the program has created an international network of students devoted to supporting human rights, access to education, sustainability, conflict resolution and other admirable UN goals.

Adelphi students have participated in the Model UN Collegiate Conference for 20 years, joining more than 3,000 other students from 40 countries in a five-day simulation of UN operations. The conference participation is part of a National Model UN course offered by the University’s Department of Political Science.

The University’s Levermore Global Scholars program sends students to represent the University at invitation-only NGO briefings at the UN Headquarters in New York.

And Adelphi professor of political science Katie Laatikainen, PhD, is an expert on the UN who has written extensively about the organization. It’s all part of the University’s effort to teach students to be citizens of the world.

A powerful dedication to youth development

Delannoy, 30, already has experience working with youth from an international perspective. She did a stint in the Peace Corps in Armenia where she was youth development director for an NGO dedicated to youth empowerment. The group ran a soccer program for girls, a poetry contest, and a theater/dance company. Delannoy wrote grants to help get funding for their programming, and she helped them get more young people to participate by maximizing their website and social media presence.

She is currently doing good in the world as the site manager for Jumpstart, a national early education organization. “I supervise, support and coach college students to implement language and literacy programming in Head Start preschools in Lower Manhattan,” she said. She’s earning her MSW online while working full time.

The role of UN youth delegate will help Delannoy advance her career in many ways.

“I wanted to take on the role as the UN youth representative to say, ‘Hey, you don’t have to go straight into a 9-to-5 after college,’” Delannoy said. “There are a lot of ways to do good in the world, like Peace Corps, AmeriCorps and this UN delegate program.”

Once she completes her MSW, Delannoy wants to get certified in trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. Addressing trauma is key to improving the mental health of young people around the world, she said: “The UN experience will help me see the work through a global lens.”

Delannoy gave a presentation at the 2022 Adelphi Research Day on human trafficking and the role social workers can play in stopping this form of modern-day slavery. She said human trafficking is a global problem that needs to be addressed through an international lens.

“That’s where this UN experience can help me find new ways to address this issue,” she said.

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