This week I received news from the United Nations’ Department of Public Information that they had approved the University of Bridgeport for association with the Department, effective immediately. This means we have official NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) status held by only a few other universities.
This United Nations accreditation is an honor for the University but we also recognize it as a responsibility. Through the efforts of faculty, staff, students and alumni, the University has long striven to support the United Nations.
Behind the Cox Student Center, there is a stone with a weathered plaque marking the tenth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. In the first decade of United Nations’ history, the University of Bridgeport hosted Dr. Ralph Bunche, Nobel Laureate and Undersecretary General of the UN. It next honored Eleanor Roosevelt, US Ambassador to the United Nations and Chief of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, as its first two Jacoby Lecturers. Since then (1952) scores of United Nations officials have visited UB and lectured here. As recently as March 2012, the University conferred an honorary doctorate upon the Hon. Ivan Barbalic, Bosnian and Herzegovina Ambassador Plenipotentiary to the United Nations. In 2011, Ambassador Barbalic became the youngest person ever to serve as President of the United Nations Security Council. The ambassador is also a proud alumnus of the University of Bridgeport where he earned his degree in Marketing in 1992. Other UB alums work with United Nations administration, with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and with United Nations-accredited NGOs.
Through its International College the University of Bridgeport offers courses on the United Nations, its evolution and its key institutions. UB prides itself on being an international institution. We strive to maintain this identity not only through our curriculum but our co-curricular activity as well. One highlight of each academic year is an International Festival in the Spring, which applauds the cultures of the world. The Festival is symbolic of the University’s commitment to support a cooperative, international learning experience for all of our students.
I am sure that you join me in welcoming this NGO accreditation from the United Nations’ Department of Public Information. I believe that this accreditation encourages us to deepen our ties with the United Nations through academic research and through initiatives that contribute to global development and to the furtherance of human security. Our efforts of the past will serve as the building blocks for the future.