UN/NGO Pathways

Partnering with NGO entities at the UN and with large and small NGOs working to address challenges to peace, human rights, and poverty, NGO Pathways exists to create learning, service, and professional opportunities for Fairleigh Dickinson University students within the vibrant international non-governmental sector. Without the tireless effort of the international non-governmental sector, and their partnership with governmental and intergovernmental organizations, resolution of major world problems would remain even more elusive.

NGO Pathways functions in conjunction with UN Pathways within the Office of Global Learning at Fairleigh Dickinson University. The University was among the very first institutions of higher learning to be awarded NGO status with the United Nations Department of Public Information, providing the University with opportunities to network and collaborate with other NGOs and with UN departments.

By creating opportunities for observation, experience and service, NGO Pathways aims to:

  • increase student awareness and understanding of the significant role assumed by NGOs in addressing many of the world's most difficult issues at the grassroots level;
  • offer exposure at the UN and within NGO settings to students to observe and experience NGOs in action;
  • provide hands-on opportunities for student involvement in problem-solving with issues such as poverty, hunger, health, education, disaster relief, global peace and disarmament.

FDU partnerships with NGOs and NGO committees enable our global-citizens-in-training to interact, experience, and serve with communities in the field and their representatives in NGO leadership positions.

Importantly, NGO Pathways enables students and faculty to experience the unbroken connections between a remote tropical village population in India or Africa and the residents of an international metropolis like New York or London. In doing so, NGO Pathways maximizes opportunities for students to discover and internalize true meaning of global citizenship. As they pass through the gates of FDU to explore the world as workers, teachers, corporate executives, government officials, or even as representatives of non-governmental organizations, they will understand that all humans are inextricably connected within the entire human family and must be concerned about the safety and well being of each other.

What's an NGO?

  • NGO: Nongovernmental Organization
    Any independent or quasi-independent, non-state, non-corporate organization. Many NGOs are not fully independent, however, either bowing to pressure by host states or accepting major funding from states or IGOs. Examples of independent NGOs include Green Peace, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), and Amnesty International. NGOs are vehicles utilized by civil society to effect change using ways and means that governments choose not to adopt for political or other reasons.
  • INGO: International Non-Governmental Organization
    A term used to describe any non-governmental organization organized in a minimum of three countries, often with an international governance structure, budget, staff, program, etc. Many scholars no longer bother to draw a distinction between NGOs and INGOs.
  • GINGO: Government-Controlled Nongovernmental Organization
    Describes a category of NGO that is under direct state control but which, nonetheless, masquerades as an independent organization. GINGOs are most common in societies that lack a robust independent civil society, although there are GINGOs based in democratic states, too.
  • BINGO: Business-Controlled Nongovernmental Organization
    Describes a category of NGO created by TNCs in order to combat the influence of independent NGOs. These organizations often appear to be independent but, in actuality, are funded by corporations and industries.
  • NSA: Non-State Actor
    Includes all NGOs, CSOs, TNCs, and TSMOs, as well as insurgent groups, militias, and criminal organizations. This is the most general and inclusive term used to describe anything that is not a state or an inter-governmental organization.
  • IGO: Intergovernmental Organization
    Any formal affiliation of states, including military alliances (e.g., NATO), trade organizations (e.g., WTO), and multi-state governance organizations (e.g., the UN and the EU). Some intergovernmental organizations, particularly the EU, are referred to as post-sovereign, in so far as member states agree to give up a significant part of their sovereignty to the IGO.
  • CSO: Civil Society Organization
    Any independent, non-corporate, non-state organization. Use of this term rather than NGO often indicates an interest in the political theories of civil society, such as those of Tocqueville or Habermas, rather than merely empirical interests. This is a term more typically used by the left. The right typically uses the language of the "private sector."
  • CBOs: Community-Based Organizations
    This term is used to describe organizations operating at the local level that formally lack national or international structure (although may still, sometimes, have national or even international reach).
  • FBOs: Faith Based Organizations
    This term is used to describe organizations operating at any level is affiliated with a religious denomination or house of worship or which holds religious or inter-faith services. Many FBOs identify religious identity or religious or spiritual commitment as a significant motive for, or component of, their work on social problems.
  • TSMO: Transnational Social Movement Organization
    Any independent, non-corporate, non-state organization. Sometimes referred to simply as SMO. This term is more often used to denote labor, peasant, revolutionary, or separatist movements, rather than NGOs like Amnesty International. However, some scholars use the term to describe any NGO with global, rather than merely domestic, reach.
  • TNC: Transnational Corporation
    A corporation with global presence and reach. Sometimes referred to as MNC (Multinational Corporation). Includes transnational banks.

The Conference on Non Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO)

CoNGO is an independent, international, non-profit, membership association of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in relationship with the United Nations for over 60 years. It seeks to facilitate productive relations, communication, and collaborative decision-making among NGOs, the CoNGO secretariat and member nation delegations at the United Nations on key matters of mutual concern. Its primary focus is to advance the engagement, access and substantive contributions of NGOs in the mission and work agenda of the United Nations.

FDU faculty members currently belong to twelve substantive committees organized by CoNGO on issues such as Human Rights, Disarmament, Sustainable Development, Youth, Ageing, Family, HIV/AIDS, Crime Prevention, Mental Health, the Status of Women, Indigenous Peoples, and Financing for Development. Through these committees, FDU faculty members contribute their expertise to the UN and identify learning, internship, and volunteer opportunities for FDU students.

Mission Statement

Vision

CONGO's vision is to be the primary support and platform for a civil society represented by a global community of informed, empowered and committed NGOs that fully participate with the UN in decision-making and programs leading to a better world, a world of economic and social justice.

Mission

Facilitate through various means the development of a dynamic and informed world-wide NGO community able to influence policies and actions at all levels of the United Nations.

Objectives

  • Improve NGOs accessibility and presence at all levels of the United Nations
  • Enhance the effective engagement of NGOs with the United Nations
  • Strengthen the dialogue between the United Nations and Non-governmental organizations
  • Engage NGOs to work together on issues of common interest
  • Education / Capacity Development
  • Work in partnership with UN civil society focal points
  • Advocate on the Principles and Goals that NGOs and United Nations share

Source: www.ngocongo.org/

FDU Role and Service Goals on CoNGO Board

In January 2011, FDU became a member of the CoNGO Board and subsequently the Governance Committee. FDU Co-Representatives Murphy and Scorza assumed the role of Co-Chairs of the Working Group on Substantive Committees and served to apply FDU technical and human resources to strengthen the organizational capacity of this entity that has a unique relationship with the UN and a long history of facilitating NGO involvement with the UN.

FDU Capacity Building Contributions to Congo as Board Member Since 2011

  1. Presentation by Dr. Jason Scorza on UN Academic Impact at CoNGO Civil Society Development Forum, Geneva, June 29, 2011
  2. Presentation by Dr. Jason Scorza on the theme "Education for All" at the CoNGO Civil Society Development Forum, New York City, September 14, 2011
  3. CoNGO Member Study by FDU Public Mind Institute and Office of Global Learning
  4. Member Survey Report: "Recommendations for Improving CoNGO Policies and Practices Derived from 2012 CoNGO Membership Survey " -- October 2012 : Drs. Jo Anne Murphy and Jason Scorza
  5. "Recommendations Related to CoNGO Member Study Results and Substantive Committee Concerns," January 2013, Drs. Jo Anne Murphy and Jason Scorza
  6. Working Group on Substantive Committee Documents prepared by Drs. Jo Anne Murphy and Jason Scorza
    • CoNGO Substantive Committee Update
    • Major Recent Activities of Substantive Committees
    • Summary of CoNGO Substantive Committee Reports

Dr. Jason A. Scorza is Vice Provost for Academic and International Affairs Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey (USA). In the latter capacity he oversees global learning programs, international partnerships, study abroad programs, and international initiatives. As Fairleigh Dickinson University's co-representative on the Board of CoNGO, Scorza has focused on governance and membership issues, co-chairing a Working Group on Substantive Committees and implementing a major survey of CoNGO members. He has twice presented at the CoNGO Civil Society Development Forum, on the topics of Education for All (14 September 2011) and the UN Academic Impact (29 June 2011).

African Youth Consultation on Higher Education (AYCHE)

Analysis of Results

The advancement of any country's economy in today's world market depends profoundly on the training and qualifications of its human resources. While the developed world and a few developing countries enjoy the benefits of quality higher education, virtually all nations in Africa, regrettably, still grapple with the need to have adequate access to a high quality tertiary education that is relevant for the future of its youth.

Although access to monetary resources is usually emphasized as being the primary obstacle to improvement of Africa's higher education, it is also highly problematic that African youth — key stakeholders in this arena — are not involved in pertinent policy and decision-making processes. This leads to a major disconnect between the formulation of appropriate youth-specific policy and the improvement of higher education.

Youth form a crucial part of the world's population and are inevitably gravitating towards leadership roles to fill critical gaps existing in human systems in diverse parts of the world. Their voices have not been sufficiently heard or even perceived as being an essential contributor to effective governance. While this situation unfortunately exists in many parts of the world, it is even more acute in Africa where most prevailing cultural traditions do not promote the inclusion of youth in critical decision-making processes. The times currently upon us require a new perspective by leadership everywhere in our world if overall progress is to be expected.

In a quest to participate actively in the improvement of higher education systems in Africa as a whole, a group of talented African youth came together under the auspices of the Office of Global Learning at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU), which is deeply committed to the education of African youth. The African Youth Consultation on Higher Education was thus created to facilitate access to the voice of African Youth as key stakeholders in their own education and to share the results of this initiative with those in positions to affect positive change.

Objectives

This initiative is designed to:

  • Engage African students in sharing their perspectives regarding higher education in Africa based on their own direct experience
  • Highlight positive changes, requiring minimal or no monetary investments, that may effectively inform African education policymakers in their efforts to upgrade the quality of education in Africa and contribute to curbing brain drain from the continent
  • Share the outcome of this consultation with partners around the world so that appropriate, expedited measures may be taken to improve the quality of higher education in Africa

Strategies

The main strategy for consultations on this project involves the use of a questionnaire that targets responses from African youth under three sub-themes: Access to Education, Quality of Education and Curriculum Content, and Strategies of Involvement. The questionnaire has both open- and closed-ended questions, allowing participants to freely air their views regarding how higher education in Africa can be improved at little or no additional cost. The diversity of the African continent has been captured by ensuring inclusion of members from the five regions of Africa: Northern, Southern, Central, Eastern and Western.

The project involves a Consultation Steering Committee (CSC) and the questionnaire population. To emphasize the importance of youth involvement, the participants identified are all youth who have undertaken at least one year of higher education in Africa, including students who have continued a portion of their studies abroad. This ensures that the views sought are enriched by exposure to higher education institutions in other regions of the world.

1. Consultation Steering Committee

The CSC includes African youth who:

  • represent Africa's diversity in culture and geographical distribution;
  • have undertaken higher education in Africa and abroad;
  • have experienced at least one year of graduate school in Africa;
  • are below the age of 35 and plan to return to Africa to participate in its growth and development, and
  • are fully responsible for the substantive content, coordination and logistical aspects of the project.

The CSC is under the mentorship of Dr. JoAnne Murphy, Director of Programs with Intergovernmental and Nongovernmental Organizations at FDU. FDU provided technical assistance in support of their groundbreaking initiative.

2. Consultation Questionnaire Population

The profile of recipients of the questionnaire consists of:

  • African youth under age 35;
  • African youth with at least one year of higher education in Africa;
  • African youth living in diverse countries and regions of the world.

3. Methodology

The following steps were taken to implement this initial effort to include the voices of African Youth in the processes underway to improve their educational opportunities and to assist with identifying ways to reduce and eventually eliminate brain drain from Africa.

  • Questionnaire participants directly identified through CSC youth contacts currently in Africa and around the world
  • Questionnaire developed by CSC members
  • Technical Assistance provided by Fairleigh Dickinson University's FDU Poll for development and administration of questionnaire using FDU software
  • Identity of individual respondents protected and will not be shared with third party institutions
  • Only general data regarding respondents' countries/academic institutions of origin in Africa identified in final report
  • Questionnaire disseminated only to students indicating their prior consent to participate
  • Results to be shared with African leaders, select UN and other entities interested in the quality of higher education in Africa and potentially able to contribute to its improvement, as well as interested African youth organizations

Please note that this is not intended to be a comprehensive or systematic survey but rather a preliminary contribution of African youth in support of their leaders' efforts to improve the quality of their educational system.