21 MARCH 2024

Empowering Youth to Become Future Global Leaders: NYC Junior Ambassadors Supported by the MSC Foundation Launches its Ninth Programme Year  

Innovative programme will be empowering more than 730 New York youths and educators to act locally on global issues through engagement with the United Nations

Focus Area: Community Support, Education


The journey towards global citizenship begins with a single step. Marking another stride forward, Commissioner Edward Mermelstein of the Mayor's Office for International Affairs has announced the 2024 cohort of the NYC Junior Ambassadors programme. This innovative programme, made possible through a NYC Mayor’s Fund grant from the MSC Foundation, will be running from January through to June this year, reaching over 740 youths and educators from diverse backgrounds across the five boroughs of New York City.

The internationally recognised, award-winning programme stimulates young New Yorkers to think of themselves as global citizens and help create a better, fairer world while learning about the United Nations and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seek to address poverty, climate change and inequality. Each class and its educator will be incorporating the SDGs into their curriculum, and all participants will receive a curated tour of the UN headquarters tailored to their class’s curricular interest, as well as a classroom visit from a senior diplomat. Since its inception, participants in the NYC Junior Ambassadors programme have welcomed UN Ambassadors representing every continent to their classrooms.

But the NYC Junior Ambassadors programme also extends far beyond the classroom. Participants have the opportunity to engage with senior diplomats, participate in global events and gain first-hand insights into the work of the United Nations. This immersive experience equips them with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to become active agents of change in their communities and beyond.

Students have participated in special global events, moderating events convened by presidents of the UN General Assembly, speaking on panels with senior UN and world representatives, including the UN Secretary-General, and participating in global conferences. Last year’s cohort participated in an event celebrating the end of their journey at Gracie Mansion, where they engaged with Mayor Eric Adams and Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield, the Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations as well as the Representative of the United States of America in the Security Council of the United Nations.

Since its inception, approximately 4,211 students and educators from almost 260 classes and after-school programmes have participated in the NYC Junior Ambassadors programme. The Mayor’s Office for International Affairs partners with the Department of Education, the Department of Youth and Community Development, the United Nations and the United Nations Foundation to provide this unique opportunity to middle school students across the city, funded again this year by the MSC Foundation.

The NYC Junior Ambassadors programme, now in its ninth year, embodies Mayor Eric Adams and his Administration's commitment to nurturing the next generation of global leaders and fostering community advocacy among young New Yorkers. The 2024 cohort, comprising approximately 742 students and educators from various grade levels and socioeconomic backgrounds, represents a rich tapestry of perspectives, interests and learning abilities.

“Our administration is creating opportunities for young New Yorkers every day, and the NYC Junior Ambassadors program delivers that for over 742 young people and educators,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “When young people engage as citizens, they learn how to advocate for themselves and their communities. I want to congratulate the new cohort of NYC Junior Ambassadors — thanks to you, our city and our world will be in good hands.”

“My team and I are thrilled to welcome the 2024 cohort of NYC Junior Ambassadors. Empowering young New Yorkers is a core part of our mission. We are happy to collaborate with our sister agencies, the United Nations, and other stakeholders to give our youth and educators unprecedented opportunities to experience life beyond their zip code,” said Edward Mermelstein, Commissioner, NYC Mayor's Office for International Affairs. “This program transforms the lives of participants by broadening their perspectives and empowering them to trust their voices while acting for the good of their communities and the world. We are grateful to Mayor Eric Adams for his vision for New York City youth and educators. Together, we are creating a legacy of global citizens.”

“We are committed to partnerships that empower youth, foster global citizenship and drive positive change,” said Daniela Picco, Executive Director of MSC Foundation. “So we take great pride in supporting the Junior Ambassadors programme to educate and inspire New York City youth to local action informed by a global perspective. With peace, humanitarian aid and sustainable development at the heart of the United Nations mission, stimulating young minds through dialogue with key stakeholders helps shape a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable world for all.