Presenting the 2020-2021 Global Ambassadors
The UNA-USA Global Goals Ambassador Program is an opportunity for UNA-USA members to take their passion about a particular Sustainable Development Goal and leverage it to develop related programming and communications at the national level. Throughout this yearlong fellowship, the Ambassadors will work alongside UNA-USA staff and other volunteer leaders to promote the SDGs through blog posts and UNA Forum articles, attendance and representation at events, and the creation of national events.
Presenting the 2020-2021 Global Ambassadors!
SDG 1: End Poverty In All Its Forms Everywhere
Malaya Williams is a high school senior and active member of her Florida community. With years of experience as a UNA-USA Youth Member and general advocate, Malaya brings her skills in organization, marketing, and public speaking as a Global Goals Ambassador. Malaya has a background in fundraising and general management as the founder of MWAXM, the former eCommerce art site. She is also a contributor to UNICEF Voices of Youth, where she blogs about culture and human rights. With a deep-seated passion for social justice, Malaya has sought numerous volunteer roles and extends a helping hand at every opportunity to uplift those in need.
Gallage Ariyaratne is a senior Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major at Montana State University – Bozeman. Gallage has a strong interest in advocacy, which drove him to join UNA-USA and get involved with the national chapter in advocacy efforts. He is a student with Sri-Lankan roots and is the President of the UNA-USA Montana State chapter — the only campus chapter in the state of Montana. Prior to his college education at Montana State, Gallage had the rare opportunity to collaborate with the World Bank Group in their End Poverty program. His strong belief is that whenever poverty exists it is also a threat to human security. As Gallage takes on the duties of this position, he will take every possible step to eliminate this condition and bring about achievable policies so that the world will be a better place to live.
SDG 2: End Hunger, Achieve Food Security And Improved Nutrition, And Promote Sustainable Agriculture
Diana Daniels is from the Bay Area and is currently studying Political Science, Languages, and Music at Amherst College. She is fluent in Spanish, proficient in Italian, and is currently learning German. She also plays several instruments including oboe, saxophone and guitar. Currently, Diana is involved in remote volunteer work with The Farmlink Project, an organization born out of the pandemic and started by college students that connects farms with food surplus to various food distribution organizations across the country. At Farmlink, she works on the Food Insecurity Team, where she conducts outreach by calling various distribution centers. She also researches how they can broaden their impact and reach more marginalized communities. Diana works on the farm at school and has worked various restaurant jobs, so over the years food systems and food justice have become a big part of many aspects of her life. She hopes that in this position she can use her knowledge to collaborate with others, make our food systems more sustainable, and find ways to ensure access to food across the globe.
SDG 3: Ensure Healthy Lives And Promote Well-Being For All At All Ages
A California native, Beverly Isa is a Harvard educated professional who obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance in 2006, and a Master’s Degree in Public Health, with a concentration in Health Promotion and Advocacy in 2015. She is passionate about international development and creating equitable health systems for all, regardless of race, creed, or socio-economic status. Beverly has over a decade of experience in finance and accounting, where she works in Revenue Management for the County of Los Angeles. She is also the Creative Director for the African Legacy Awards (ALA), an annual event that recognizes the achievements of those who make a lasting and sustainable impact on the continent. Her passion for Public Health is evident in her role as a Global Health Coordinator for African Global Alliance (AGA), a non-profit organization which provides free health and education services for high-risk communities in sub-Saharan Africa. In this role she has partnered with international governments, media outlets, and other non-profit organizations with a focus on building positive collaborative relationships, while delivering excellent quality of service.
Nikitha Vicas is pursuing a B.S. in Neuroscience and Economics at the University of Texas at Dallas as a McDermott Scholar and has a strong interest in population health and policy. She has been involved in research on molecular genetics at UT Southwestern and on population health data science at Stanford and Harvard Medical School. Studying in Jaipur through the Critical Language Scholarship, Nikitha volunteered through the Ministry of Health in areas with little access to healthcare services, sparking her passion for health equity. This led her to internship at the US Department of Health and Human Services Region VI, the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and Bain & Company to further her knowledge on healthcare economics, policy, and management. In Dallas, she has been involved in Roosevelt Institute collegiate think tank, Student Government, and enjoys volunteering at the Monday Clinic and teaching dance. Nikitha was a UNA-USA Emerging Leader and hopes to continue advocating for population health equity in her career.
SDG 4: Ensure Inclusive And Equitable Quality Education And Promote Lifelong Learning Opportunities For All
Growing up in Pennsylvania, Amanda Abrom comes from a family of educators and has experienced all types of education in her lifetime – from public school to private school to online charter school to homeschooling. Amanda found her passion for education while working as an English teacher in Chile for the Chilean Ministry of Education and UNDP, and while launching a Model UN program as a Fulbright Scholar in Spain. Currently, she is a dual Masters student at Columbia University and the London School of Economics. She serves on the UNCTAD Youth Events Team, and she is the Project Lead for SDSN’s Global Schools, which is a program that gives schools and educators the tools and resources to implement the SDGs in their classrooms.
Ellen Wang (she/her) is from Irvine, California, and taking a gap year in 2020-21 before studying cognitive science at Scripps College. She adores teaching/pedagogy and its intersection with psychology, and thoroughly enjoys thoughtful discussion. She applies interdisciplinary learning to everything she does, from leading teams like Writer’s Ink Nonprofit to organizing events like TEDx. Ellen is an avid activist and journalist interested in public policy, especially revolving around alleviating inequalities/disparities. Outside of that, she also loves traveling, hiking, and playing the violin. Her overarching goals include advocating for learning across diverse areas and highlighting the importance of global citizenship rather than being a passive bystander in life.
SDG 5: Achieve Gender Equality And Empower All Women And Girls
Nekpen Osuan Wilson is the Co-Founder and CEO of WomenWerk, and a Manager at Deloitte Consulting. WomenWerk is a women’s empowerment non-profit based in that reaches 5,500 women and girls annually in New York City. A former Instructor at Columbia University and Contributor for Women at Forbes.com, she has received honors for her work advocating for social justice. Nekpen serves on the DNC’s Young Professionals Committee and Women’s Leadership Forum, and is a volunteer on professional boards for Vote Run Lead, the Lower Eastside Girls Club, The Council of Urban Professionals, The NewLeaders Council, and the famed Apollo Theatre in New York City. Nekpen enjoys advocating for women’s rights and equality through public speaking on pay equity, women in leadership, and supporting women in business. Her work has been featured at SXSW, Essence Festival, the Riveter, AdWeek, the National Urban League Annual Leadership Conference, Columbia Business School, Wharton Business School, New Leaders Council National Conference, Barnard College, NYU, 92Y Global Leadership Training, The Council of Urban Professionals Annual Conference, WeWork and Ladies Get Paid’s Women’s Equal Pay Day events, and more. She earned her Masters from Columbia University and her Bachelors with Honors from Baylor University.
Ada Yang is currently pursuing her M.A. in Media and Strategic Communications at the George Washington University. She is the UNICEF USA Mid-Atlantic Unite Council Lead in Washington, D.C., and is passionate about children and women’s rights, specifically gender equality. Since quarantine, she has been learning more about sustainable living and trying to adapt to a more zero waste lifestyle to contribute her part towards climate change. To keep herself busy, she has joined the UNA-NCA Emerging Leadership Fellowship over the summer to learn and cooperate with other inspiring young leaders. Ada currently speaks 4 languages and is continuing to learn more!
SDG 6: Ensure Availability And Sustainable Management Of Water And Sanitation For All
SDG 7: Ensure Access To Affordable, Reliable, Sustainable And Modern Energy For All
Spencer M Dayton is from California’s Central Valley and is renowned as the President and Executive Director of the Military Health Project & Foundation and an expert in public policy, fundraising, and veterans’ affairs. He began this position after leaving state government. He holds both a Bachelor of Arts in Government with an Emphasis in Legal Studies and a Master of Public Administration with an Emphasis in Government and Policy. Spencer is currently working towards a Doctor of Public Administration with a Concentration in Law and Policy. Driven by the desire to have an impact on others’ lives, Spencer believes that human rights to life, a clean plant, security, health care and shelter are keystones to individual dignity and strives to ensure that all are equipped with the tools and voice required to succeed. In addition to his work with veterans’ affairs, Spencer is the author of “The Failing American Experiment” an article published in the journal of the London School of Economics and seven novels for adults and teens as well as several other articles and theses. Spencer is an active member of UNA-USA, Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, a commissioned Nebraska Admiral and a Kentucky Colonel, and has been presented with numerous citations and honors from the state, local and federal governments for his work in policy and advocacy.
Dr. Vishal Sharma is an international research scholar from India and is presently working as a Fulbright Climate Fellow, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado. He is passionate about providing affordable, clean, and sustainable energy to the world and advocates for the popularization of green energy in order to save the environment. Dr. Vishal is a trained climate reality leader under Nobel Laureate and former US Vice President Al Gore. He is also a certified Peer Reviewer for Nature Research and Publons Academy — a part of Web of Science Group, London, UK. Additionally, he has received several awards and recognitions such as the Fulbright Climate Fellowship, Commonwealth Fellowship, visiting Academician to The University of Sheffield, and Indo-United Nations Pin Award (one of the 100 awarded worldwide). Dr Sharma is a member of Citizen’s Climate Community, the Institute of Nanotechnology, the Society of Building Science Educators, the Solar Energy Society of India, the Asian Society of Researchers, and the United Nations Association of the United States of America. As a Global Goal Ambassador, he is committed to contributing his knowledge and expertise in order to provide sustainable green energy to all of humanity.
SDG 8: Promote Sustained, Inclusive And Sustainable Economic Growth, Full And Productive Employment And Decent Work For All
Lady Tee Thompson is the principal of the international organization AgroBiz and emerging Cashew Queens brand. Her calling is global advocacy for women’s self-sufficiency, African diaspora inclusion, youth & women’s’ empowerment, agricultural skill transfer, investment matchmaking for minority business enterprises, and gender equality. Tee facilitates USA and foreign investment, cooperative and international economic development. She is a sounding voice to celebrity clientele, governmental agencies, political leaders, supplier diversity companies and non-profit organizations or NGO’s. Her work has been recognized by former U.S. President Obama for contributions toward “Doing Business in Africa” during Women’s History Month. She has been honored and has received many prestigious national, international awards and acknowledgements for her body of work spanning across 30 years and 14 countries. Currently, she is a Fulbright Specialist, Human Trafficking Fellow, and serves as the International Chairperson for the National Women in Agriculture Association. Tee possesses a Master of Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Legal Administration, both from the esteemed University of Detroit Mercy and resides in the metro Detroit area with her family.
Ritesh Yadav is an International student from Nepal, currently pursuing his undergraduate degree in the USA. He is a senior majoring in Economics and minoring in Mathematics at Idaho State University. Ritesh is an intern at Bengal Solutions – a business consulting group that works with various businesses and counties in Idaho to provide business and economic development framework. After coming to ISU, Ritesh has been involved in various organizations on campus, served in leadership positions, and appeared as a speaker. As a founder of TEDxIdahoStateUniversity, he mobilized student groups to put forth the first TEDx event on campus. He has remained a board member of the UNA-USA club on campus and is currently the acting president of the Economics Club on campus. His research interests lie in studying methods for poverty alleviation and development in the least developed countries. He wants to continue his path of learning to pursue a doctoral degree in Development Economics, continue his research, and start a non-profit at some point.
SDG 9: Build Resilient Infrastructure, Promote Inclusive And Sustainable Industrialization And Foster Innovation
SDG 10: Reduce Inequality Within And Among Countries
Sadie Luke is a Sacramento native who is passionate about helping those that cannot help themselves. She especially identifies with the mission, vision, and values of the United Nations, and has been a strong advocate with the UNA-USA Sacramento chapter since 2017. Sadie works hard to educate, inspire, and mobile Americans to support the important work of the United Nations through advocacy, education campaigns, and programming events.
Shruthisri (Sri) Ravisankar is currently a senior at Notre Dame High School and resides in San Jose, California. She is a passionate advocate for equity, diversity, sustainability, and youth empowerment in her local and national communities. She attributes her affinity for active civic engagement to her belief that when people care enough to speak and act, they can mobilize change. Her extreme fervor for giving back to the community led her to serve as the District 2 commissioner of the Youth Task Force and as a co-chair of the Women’s Equality Leadership Council in Santa Clara County. As the youngest member of the council, she assists the County’s effort to advance women’s equality and broaden electoral participation. Furthermore, she serves her school community as a member of TASC Justice and the Race, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce to outline concrete actions and policies to create a more equitable community. Apart from serving as a board member of the UNA-USA Silicon Valley Chapter, she serves as the Bay Area ambassador for “Think Together” to promote equity in education. She is also the founder of OrbitNext, a student-led initiative dedicated to empowering, encouraging, and helping students’ smooth transition into high schools. Besides her passion for social justice, she is also an award-winning performing artist and an invited conferee at UNESCO International Dance Council’s 2019 Congress. As a Global Goal Ambassador for SDG #10, Shruthisri is committed to reducing inequalities and promoting equal representation.
SDG 11: Make Cities And Human Settlements Inclusive, Safe, Resilient And Sustainable
Ahmed Meselhy is a LEED Green Associate, certified by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), and a sustainable designer, with more than six years of experience practicing architecture, and is interested in net-zero buildings. He is versed in a variety of different cultures, having moved between different continents; Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. He has won several national and international competitions in the sustainable development field, including the British university ISCDC Design competition in 2017, and the UIA Graduation Project honor award in 2015. Ahmed teaches environmental design strategies and sustainable development principles full-time at Minia University. Currently, Ahmed is a Sustainable Design master’s student at Thomas Jefferson University in The United States. He is also a professional in Grasshopper climate analysis, and is able to decrease the energy demand that buildings are consuming to save it for our future generations.
Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski graduated from Harvard in 2018 with a B.A. in Anthropology. She joined the United Nations Association in 2018 and is the Founding President & Chairwoman for the UNA Brooklyn Chapter Young Professionals. Caroline has served as an Emerging Leaders Fellow for three cohorts, as Q&A Facilitator for the Mid-Atlantic UN75 Consultation, and as a UNA Blogger. She is a YOUNGA 2020 Delegate and has attended the 2019 UNGA74 Youth Climate Summit and Social Good Summits. She is currently a GPODS (Global Policy, Diplomacy, and Sustainability) Fellow, and serves as the Chief Partnership and Innovation Officer for the Youth Sustainability Development Conference 2021. She has been a youth speaker at several conferences hosted by ANYL4PSD Africa, the YSDC Network, EnviPol, and Avant Guarde, Ltd. on issues ranging from quality education, decent work, climate action, and partnerships. For her work on Sustainable Cities and Communities and concern for adverse effects on youth empowerment, she was invited to the 2019 World Bank Group Youth Summit Delegate for Smarter Cities for a Resilient Future. She is currently preparing to launch a sustainable tourism consulting startup with her business partner in Ecuador to expand globally.
SDG 12: Ensure Sustainable Consumption And Production Patterns
Raiha Zainab is a second year undergraduate student at Indiana University majoring in International Studies and Journalism and minoring in French. She is passionate about human rights and advocacy issues. Raiha has previously done significant research on human trafficking, working with non-profits such as the Alliance for Freedom, Restoration and Justice, The Abolish Foundation, and local domestic violence shelters. She is also a student journalist, currently writing for my school newspaper and interning with Gray Television and the Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism. Through her role as Global Goals Ambassador, Raiha would love to advocate for issues that matter to her, such as human trafficking, climate change, and worker’s rights. Most people are unaware of how their consumption habits impact human and environmental rights across the world, and Raiha hopes to create more awareness about these issues. She would also love to work with businesses to help them become cognizant of sustainability and human rights issues within their supply chains. Overall, she is excited to work with a group of people who are passionate about creating a better, more sustainable world!
Louise Michel is a student studying Government and Environmental Studies at Smith College, with plans to go into environmental policy. She was raised in San Francisco, CA, and has interned with the SF Dept. of the Environment as well as the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition. She is currently working with Masks For All CA as the National Chapter Liaison. Louise is committed to sustainability, and hopes to continue connecting the public with knowledge and resources to make their community more sustainable with this ambassadorship.
SDG 13: Take Urgent Action To Combat Climate Change And Its Impacts
Robin Happel is originally from east Tennessee, near the center of coal country. Previously, she has worked with the Bronx Zoo, the UN Environment Programme, the Clean Cooking Alliance, and other NGOs devoted to sustainable development. She has also represented the UN Association at the 2020 High-Level Political Forum, the UN Youth Climate Summit, and the Global Climate Action Summit. As an environmental law student, Robin is deeply passionate about environmental and climate justice, and helping to ensure a just transition for coal country and other frontline communities around the world. Throughout law school, she has collaborated with Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change on emerging climate litigation pathways, and has also worked on climate risk and indigenous rights with Divest, Invest, Protect.
Jhazzmyn Joiner is a recent Georgia Tech graduate, graduating with a B.S. in Literature, Media, and Communication. During her time in college, she started her own foundation, The Joiner Foundation, Inc. Through this organization, she and the team seek to help as many people as humanly possible through scholarship and service. Jhazzmyn has worked as a writing assistant, research intern, and communication intern. She is a writer of poetry, short stories, and lyrics. She was born in Las Vegas, NV, but resides in Atlanta, GA.
SDG 14: Conserve And Sustainably Use The Oceans, Seas And Marine Resources For Sustainable Development
SDG 15: Protect, Restore And Promote Sustainable Use Of Terrestrial Ecosystems, Sustainably Manage Forests, Combat Desertification, And Halt And Reverse Land Degradation And Halt Biodiversity Loss
SDG 16: Promote Peaceful And Inclusive Societies For Sustainable Development, Provide Access To Justice For All And Build Effective, Accountable And Inclusive Institutions At All Levels
Andres Arzate is originally from Barranquilla, Colombia and graduated from Santa Barbara City College in 2018 with an Associate’s Degree in Political Science and Liberal Arts. His experience coming from a country that recently ended a decades-long conflict served as an inspiration to seek peace in other parts of the world. Andres became a member of the Santa Barbara Chapter of UNA-USA during his second year at SBCC, first as an intern and now as Chapter Secretary and Webmaster. He found in UNA-USA a community of like-minded individuals committed to achieving a more equitable and peaceful world. During the last three years as a member of UNA-USA, he has had the opportunity to advocate on behalf of his Chapter in Washington D.C. at the Leadership Summit and at other events in Southern California. Through UNA, Andres have been able to connect with local organizations in the Santa Barbara area, such as the Montecito Association, the World Business Academy, and Direct Relief International. In the coming years he plans on pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Economics, and eventually work at an international organization that focuses on peace and development. On top of his interests in Peace, Economic Development and Social Issues, he is also passionate about technology as a way to create bonds between people from different countries.
James Paek is a graduate of the University of North Georgia and University of Georgia, where he received a Bachelor’s in political science. He is a strategist and mentor with over 10 years of volunteer experience to many different organizations improving quality education to youth, business development, and social entrepreneurship achieving Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. James is passionate about achieving SDGs, future of work, and crisis management and leadership strategy. He completed AFF Spring 2020 Writing Fellows and he is a member of AFF Pilot Membership program. He also successfully completed the Youth Leadership School from the Leadership Institute. Prior to joining AFF programs, James appeared on the talk show Whiskey Politics to discuss international relations in the Korean Peninsula, the future outcome of Moon Jae-In’s presidency, and current events. He has exceptional expertise fields ranging from from criminal justice to health care reform. His work has been published on Students for Liberty, One Young World, FreedomFest Forum, and Medium. In addition, he was selected for Global Ambassador for the Institute for Economics and Peace, World Literacy Foundation, Their World, One Young World, Internet Society, Global Changemakers, Mentor for Social Innovation Warehouse, and Volunteer Teacher for Microsoft TEALS. Recently, James attended the Enactus World Cup and provided mentors to many social enterprise leaders including students which positively impacted the lives of 1.3 million people each year including participating as a Judge.
SDG 17: Strengthen The Means Of Implementation And Revitalize The Global Partnership For Sustainable Development
Olivera Jankovska is the Community Engagement Associate at UNICEF USA in Houston. She is an award-winning community activist, and a champion for children’s rights. Olivera received an A.S. in Marketing from Perrotis College, Thessaloniki, Greece, a B.S. in agricultural business from the University of Arkansas. She also has a master of science degree in agricultural and applied economics and a graduate certificate in international research & development from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Besides her role as a board member of the United Nations Association Houston Chapter, Olivera also serves on the Sister Cities of Houston. She is an active volunteer leader of many other international organizations, including the Rotary Club of Houston International, International Voices of Houston and the United Macedonian Diaspora. Finally, she is an active member of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers in Houston, the French American Chamber of Commerce and Dining for Women. A published economist and a service leader at her core, Olivera not only brings ten years of international development work experience, but she also has a strong business acumen she acquired while serving the energy consulting industry and doing academic research as a nonresident fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.
Chandra Pauline (Dinakar) Daniel Ph.D., is currently pursuing her Doctorate Program in Public Health at the New York Medical College. She completed her elementary school years in Nigeria followed by a passion for higher studies in obtaining her B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D. degrees from India. Her key skill sets are program evaluation, program management, capacity building and enhancing collaborations and partnerships. Her intricate knowledge and understanding of the Asian and African culture, play a critical role in her inter-continental research ventures and public-private partnerships. She engages in peer-reviews for the ‘Journal of Social Medicine’ of the Albert Einstein School of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center, the Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research [GFMER] and the Antimicrobial Resistance [AMR] ThinkDoTank. Chandra has excellent work and research experience from the World Health Organization [WHO], U.S. Department of Homeland Security [DHS], the National Black Leadership in Health [NBLCH], the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task force [HIDTA] and the New Jersey Department of Health. Her international work and research background exude a global perspective, which is well applied into all her public-health interventions and partnerships.