Spring 2010 Issue

Fully Engaged

Barry senior Christine Willingham was one of only 20 students from across the country chosen to take part in a recent Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) practicum at the United Nations. The experience afforded Willingham the opportunity to observe how the U.N. works to address issues requiring multilateral engagement and coordinated action.

Willingham, who is working toward her master’s degree in public relations and corporate communication, completed her one-week stint March 6 at the U.N. in New York City. During that time she was awarded temporary delegate status, attended official and non-government organization (NGO) sessions, and contributed to the official documentation of both official and NGO meetings.

The CSW practicum, which focuses on gender equality and the advancement of women, is sponsored by the Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights at Suffolk University, Boston; the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and the National Women’s Studies Association.

In addition to learning about negotiation, advocacy points, and networking, Willingham must complete several assignments, the most important of which is to create an advocacy project at Barry.

“We teach the women how important citizen engagement is,” said Laura Roskos, co-president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and activist-in-residence at the Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights. “They figure out the ropes, learn how to network with NGOs, meet government officials and participate in turning specific proposals into documents that can be adopted by U.N. bodies. This success empowers them to engage in successful civic campaigns in their home environments.”