Many students attend FIT to prepare for careers that make a difference in the world. Gabriella Manduca, FIT’s first student delegate to the United Nations, is well on her way.
The U.N. Department of Public Information partners with more than 1,300 nongovernmental organizations, which meet for weekly briefings at U.N. headquarters in New York City. These NGOs send delegates to report on the briefings, which cover hot-button issues such as education, poverty, and the refugee crisis.
Manduca, a seventh-semester International Trade and Marketing student, became a youth delegate this fall through one such NGO partner, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the world’s largest nonprofit dedicated to international education and cultural exchange. As one of two NAFSA youth delegates, she attends the U.N. briefings and summarizes them for the association’s blog. She also encourages other students, including her FIT classmates, to engage with the U.N.
According to Kelly Roberts, assistant director and university SEVIS coordinator in the Office for International Services at Fordham University as well as the university’s United Nations representative , this program is a way for the U.N. to connect with young people, many of whom change their career paths because of the opportunities they are given.
“Multilateral institutions like the U.N. provide ITM students with direct and practical exposure to the principles and practices they learn in the program,” said ITM chair Christine Pomeranz. She said Manduca personifies many qualities that the program teaches, including professionalism and ethics, critical thinking, technological acumen, and a global perspective.
Manduca is passionate about fighting the sale of counterfeit goods, which is connected to organized crime and human-rights abuses. A 2014–15 Museum at FIT exhibition, Faking It: Originals, Copies, and Counterfeits, made her aware of this global problem, and her ITM classes galvanized her further. She applied to be a NAFSA delegate to broaden her understanding of the global stage.
Fluent in Italian, Manduca tutors in FIT’s Writing Studio and is an FIT Presidential Scholar as well as the recipient of a Jerome L. Greene Study Abroad Scholarship ($10,000). She has also won scholarships from the Ralph Lauren Corporation and the New York District Export Council.
“A lot of people making sustainable innovations don’t realize they can make a difference on the scale of the U.N.,” Manduca said. “I thought this could be an opportunity to start that conversation here at FIT.”