Global Citizenship: Moments of Change

January 29, 2013
This February UNICEF’s first group of Global Citizenship Fellows will graduate after a year of service on behalf of UNICEF. Global Citizenship Fellows work as grassroots spokespersons for children, inspiring communities to act on behalf of children around the world. As the first group of fellows graduates, they look back at some of the highlights of their year. Aarti Singh is the 2012 Washington D.C. Global Citizenship Fellow. We all have moments in our careers that are turning points, and it can be a challenge to try and describe them. However, if we fail to do so, they may lose their value. So brace yourself—I’m about to share with you some incredible moments that I have experienced as a U.S. Fund for UNICEF Global Citizenship Fellow in Washington D.C. Warning: You may experience a sense of hope and inspiration when reading this. U.S. Fund for UNICEF Global Citizenship Fellows A Moment of Awe At the start of my fellowship, I sat around a table at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF offices in New York, surrounded by seven other Global Citizenship Fellows who would comprise my team for the next 13 months. We did all kinds “tell us about yourself” activities to get to know each other—and get to know each other we did! But what’s more, we hit it off like old friends, reunited after years of being apart. I was in awe to be surrounded by people who believe in the power of humanity in the same way that I do. More importantly, I was lucky enough to call them colleagues. Ten months later, I’m still in awe. The Moment I Witnessed the Power of Children On June 14, 2012, leaders from across the globe joined forces in Washington D.C. with a renewed promise—to end preventable child deaths. I was charged with recruiting volunteers to welcome these leaders and thank them for their commitment and dedication to this issue. With the support of the incredible U.S. Fund team and several of our volunteers, I dived right into logistics and recruiting.  Before I knew it, it was the morning of the event and the dignitaries were arriving—and our volunteers were welcoming them. Several of our volunteers were children. They were dressed in blue, spreading the message of child survival with their colorful signs and posters. I was so caught up in planning and logistics that I didn’t realize how much of an impact those children would have. They were reminders for all the organizations and dignitaries that we weren’t fighting for numbers. We were fighting for children. It wasn’t that I didn’t know the power of children before this day. I did. But this was the moment I witnessed that power. The Moment I Realized I was Part of a Movement Last fall the Global Poverty Project hosted the “Global Citizen Festival” in New York’s Central Park in collaboration with other nonprofit organizations. The festival brought together a group of incredible artists including the Black Keys, The Foo Fighters, Knaan and Neil Young, along with celebrities like Selena Gomez, Olivia Wilde and Katie Couric. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF had a team of volunteers present who were responsible for engaging the audience before the opening set. This meant talking to people in the crowd about global citizenship, and why it’s critical to end extreme poverty. It was a great opportunity to talk about the work we do every day, and to hear stories about why people support the cause. It wasn’t until Dave Grohl (lead singer of the Foo Fighters) said, “You have no idea how beautiful this looks from up here,” that I turned around and saw the sea of people with the New York City skyline behind them. There were 60,000 people there that night! When I became a Global Citizenship Fellow ten months ago, I knew I was a part of something special. Standing in Central Park that night, I could feel it. I’ve been a Global Citizenship Fellow for about ten months now. That’s a lot of moments. Moments that I wouldn’t dare try and capture in a single blog post. My job is different every day, and I couldn’t love it more. It’s a blessing to be excited to go to work, and to be inspired and learn every day. For that I am incredibly grateful. Aarti Singh is the Global Citizenship Fellow at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF in Washington D.C. Prior to this fellowship, Aarti was a seasoned supporter of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, having actively engaged in the Tap Project, Trick-or-Treat, UNICEF Campus Initiative and the Eliminate Project. In addition to spending time in a small village in Bihar, India, Aarti has also spent a summer volunteering for the Mother Teresa orphanage there. A graduate of the University of Maryland in Public and Community Health, Aarti hopes to eventually pursue a master’s degree in Global Health from Johns Hopkins University. Along with watching European football and cricket, she also enjoys traveling and music concerts.