To end the year, we'd like to give a shout-out to our UNICEF Club at Georgetown!
Recently, the club held their (SIXTEENTH!) annual International Development Conference. The panel specifically pertained to the health and education of children. Amy P., a co-director for the panel, said that the inspiration for this event stemmed from seeing how the plight of migrants and refugees -- especially those fleeing to Europe -- was exacerbated this year. In fact, data from the UNHCR shows that over 100,000 people have resettled in Europe in 2018 alone, and over 2000 people have been reported missing during their journey.
Previous conferences have focused on gender equality and how climate change affects children around the world – and guest speakers were invited to speak about their work, why such issues are important, and how they can get involved in their capacity as university students. Georgetown UNICEF’s goal of the conference was to raise awareness of these issues and generate discussions about them.
Alice Y., another co-director, noticed that the conference attendees have, in recent years, expanded to include alumni, faculty, and students from other universities. This exciting development puts like-minded, motivated individuals with different capacities, skills, and backgrounds in contact with each other, which is what a successful advocacy event should do!
As always, they are constantly inspired by the incredible array of events that UNICEF Clubs host across America. Remember that advocacy events like this one are just as necessary as fundraising! With good planning and supporting resources, you can host educational events that are sure to capture widespread attention.
Interested in hosting a similar event?
We got the lowdown from Alice Y. on how they hosted such an amazing event to help you through the process of hosting a panel event like they did.
How did you get in contact with the speakers?
Amy (my co-director) and I first asked around our committee and the UNICEF board if they knew anyone or had any professors who might be interested in participating, and then we took it to Google to look for professionals working with refugees or in the (im)migration fields in the DMV area - we reached out to speakers via email mostly, but did have some follow-ups over the phone after they confirmed they were interested in attending.
How did you structure the conference? What was the agenda for the day?
We started with an interactive quiz to get the audience to start thinking and engaging with the topic and also gauge their background knowledge. Then our speakers made short 10-minute presentations introducing themselves and their work, and then we moved on to a moderated open-floor Q&A panel before the food and networking reception. (List of the questions for your reference)
How far in advance did you start planning?
We booked the venue in spring semester 2018 (so well in advance!), but otherwise, most of the actual planning (ie. catering, recruiting sponsors, marketing, etc.) took place in the fall. We started looking for speakers around mid-September, and I would say everything else really kicked off around late September.
Were you able to get items donated and do you have any advice on getting food or drinks donated?
We did get both internal and external sponsors, and amongst them was the Mortara Center for International Studies at Georgetown (which promotes scholarly, interdisciplinary research by faculty and students, advancing policy-relevant knowledge about international political, social, and economic issues, and generating communities of research and practice on key global concerns according to their website) which covered half of our catering costs. As for advice, I'd say just to reach out to as many people as possible - you never know who might be interested in helping, and it never hurts to try!
Georgetown UNICEF hoped to increase UNICEF’s visibility and activity on campus and get more students involved in their events, either as committee members or participants. They also aimed to expand their connections with other UNICEF clubs in the area, as this collaboration and support would allow them to host larger events.
Advice for dreamers, old and young
Do NOT be afraid to talk to people! Though it might seem intimidating to reach out at first, if you share your dreams and struggles with others, people will typically offer a helpful hand. If they can’t do so personally, they might be able to connect you with people who can – it’s always good to increase your network of support. You never know who might be able to help you on your journey.
"I believe that poverty reduction and creating a better world begins with children, and that we have a responsibility to speak up for the younger generation when they cannot to give them a voice." -Alice Y.
“I believe that poverty reduction and creating a better world begins with children, and that we have a responsibility to speak up for the younger generation when they cannot to give them a voice. Protecting children is a means to improve our future. UNICEF’s mission resonates with me, and I am eager to become more deeply involved in educating, advocating, and fundraising to directly help these children.”
-Alice Y.- co-director of UNICEF-Georgetown’s International Development Conference
Good luck with your next event!