The Levermore Global Scholars community enables students to deep dive into international issues and have theirs voices heard by top UN officials.
About 2,200 miles south of Garden City, New York, lie the hills of Ciudad Colón, Costa Rica. Nearly 3,700 miles to the northeast sits the coastal town of Moss, Norway. Meanwhile, a 23-mile westbound hop on the Long Island Rail Road ends in midtown Manhattan, where those locales converge at the United Nations. There, a special relationship has been opening doors for Adelphi students for more than a decade and forging connections around the world, from Scandinavia to Central America.
Thanks to a heritage of global commitment begun under the University’s first president, Charles Levermore, Ph.D., and nurtured by passionate faculty and administrators, Adelphi has two critical connections to the U.N. In 2010, it became a charter member of the United Nations Academic Impact initiative, which brings an annual conference on peace and human rights to Adelphi’s campus.
Secondly, in 2003, Adelphi became one of the few institutions of higher learning granted nongovernmental organization (NGO) status by the U.N. Department of Public Information. NGO status—usually reserved for relief organizations, environmental groups and other nonprofits— lets Adelphi students engage in a wide array of programs, Chief among them is Levermore Global Scholars (LGS), an academic honors community that enables students— no matter their major—to deep dive into issues such as sustainable development, attend invitation-only events with diplomats and have their voices heard by top U.N. officials. The LGS Fellows program also brings international scholars to lecture, supervise research and mentor on campus.
“Most of our engagement is in New York City,” said Peter DeBartolo, an Adelphi adjunct professor who administers the program along with its academic director, Associate Professor Cindy Maguire, Ph.D. “But it doesn’t end there.”
LGS takes students to places like Ciudad Colón, where they do research at the U.N.’s University for Peace (UPEACE). It helps them get internships and seed funding for community projects. It also brings them from places like Moss, where Adelphi partners with the American College of Norway.
Ida Eriksson ’14 transferred to Adelphi and joined LGS after her sophomore year at the American College of Norway. Through LGS, she consulted on U.S. development—and her recommendations were included in an official report to the U.N. secretary general. She also researched sustainable development at UPEACE in Costa Rica.
With a B.A. in International Studies, Eriksson works at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Tallinn, Estonia, and plans to pursue a master’s degree in international education in the U.K.—a path she traces back to Garden City. “I’m grateful for the relationships I made with fellow LGS students and professors at Adelphi,” Eriksson said. “It was a home away from home in many ways.”
Current LGS students hail from 37 majors. There’s the nursing student who attends World Health Organization briefings; the accounting major who speaks with authority on “conflict minerals” in supply chains; and the physics student whose research on sustainable engineering earned him a ticket to a prestigious master’s program.
“It’s a diverse group,” said DeBartolo, “but each often ends up becoming the most globally minded person in the room in whatever field they go into.”
Non-LGS students can also take advantage of the University’s global ties, with weekly briefings at the U.N., lectures from LGS Fellows and conferences on a variety of topics.
Then there’s the National Model United Nations class taught by Professor Katie Laatikainen, Ph.D., interim director of international studies, who played a key role in getting Adelphi’s NGO accreditation. The course is a rigorous elective that culminates in a five-day conference—the world’s largest—at U.N. headquarters. Participating students represent an assigned nation’s “mission” by debating key
issues and policies that concern it.
The course is demanding and offered only every other spring. But “the benefits can’t be overstated,” said Emil Thomsen, a political science major who graduated in May 2017. The Denmark native participated in 2016 and served on Adelphi’s delegation representing Malta.
Thomsen transferred from the University of New Haven for Adelphi’s broad international student body and its soccer program. He hopes to use what he has learned to represent his native Denmark at the U.N., a prospect enhanced when he introduced the Danish ambassador to the U.N. at an on-campus event. “It develops your decision making, assertiveness, public speaking, research skills—all things that are incredibly important in the career I want to pursue,” he said.
LGS alumna Erica White ’15 participated in the Model U.N. and now serves with the Peace Corps in Madagascar en route to a master’s degree in public health. “I don’t think that career path is a coincidence,” DeBartolo said.
Ultimately, college is about preparing to succeed in the world. Adelphi’s global connections make discovering the world that much easier.
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