Riana Shah '14 Presents to
U.N. Commission for Social Development
by Linda Hou '13
Riana Shah '14 was among 11 SustainUS Agents of Change delegates who attended recent meetings with the U.N. Commission for Social Development. SustainUS is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of young people dedicated to advancing sustainable development and youth empowerment in the United States.
Poverty eradication was the theme of the event. Delegates had the opportunity to work with government officials, scientists, civil society representatives, and youth from around the world to review progress on issues related to social development. Delegates, including Shah, presented case studies and policy statements to the government officials and their peer delegates in attendance.
With anticipated majors in educational studies and sociology and anthropology, Shah was chosen as a delegate for her role in co-founding and directing the nonprofit Independent Thought & Social Action in India (ITSA India). ITSA India aims to create socially responsible youth leaders by sponsoring workshops and other training opportunities in critical thinking and social action.
"The curriculum in India is very test-driven and students don't really get the chance to participate in critical thinking, which is something very common in Swarthmore," says Shah. "It's important to teach youths how to be leaders in their communities, so that they can then go on to change the world."
Shah's work with ITSA India is supported with a Lang Opportunity Scholar Grant from the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.