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News from the Hilltop

Dec. 9, 2011

Birmingham-Southern student participating in international U.N. forum in Middle East

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Birmingham-Southern College student Sarah McCune, a senior English major from Bozeman, Mont., is participating in an international United Nations forum in the Middle East this month with a number of renowned dignitaries.Birmingham-Southern College student Sarah McCune

The 4th Annual Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) is being held in Doha Dec. 11-13 for the purpose of building a culture of peace and dialogue among civilizations. Doha is the capital city of Qatar, a coastal country bordering Saudi Arabia.

The annual forum is the highest profile event of the UNAOC. Forums in the past have been held in Madrid, Spain; Istanbul, Turkey; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

From Dec. 8-10, McCune is attending the Doha Pre-Forum with 400 youth from around the world and will moderate one of its plenary sessions.

The main event of the forum on Sunday, Dec. 11, will bring together world leaders—including the U.N. secretary-general, heads of states and governments, heads of international organizations, ministers, civil society activists, scholars, Nobel laureates, corporate executives, religious leaders—and thousands of other people and members of organizations from around the world actively involved in enhancing intercultural dialogue and cooperation. The U.N. forum also will include several workshops that facilitate creative thinking, exchanges, and further collaboration between the alliance and its other partners.

This opportunity came about as a result of McCune’s BSC Hess Fellowship in the summer of 2010 with the United Nations Civilization in New York City. The Hess Fellows Program connects students with nonprofit advocacy organizations and provides them with an intensive internship opportunity.

 In the spring of 2010, she participated in a forum in Rio de Janeiro with the UNAOC where she helped draft youth recommendations and participated as a U.S. youth representative. During her week in Brazil, McCune helped create the Rio Forum Report Youth Section, North American Youth Network, and Global Launch of the International Year of Youth.

She remained in touch with UNAOC Youth Program Director Isabelle Legare when she left Brazil, and is switching places with Legare who is unable to attend this year’s forum in Doha.

McCune is anticipating notification about her Fulbright scholarship application to study in Ghana, Africa, for 2012-13.

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