This year, two Rutgers Prep students, Nikhil Lahiri '18 and Rebekah Park '17, founded the Global Education Program with the help current faculty Jalaj Desai, Mythili Lahiri, and Kevin Merges. The overarching objective of this program is to promote awareness of global issues within the RPS community and encourage students to craft tangible, intelligent solutions to these problems. On ten Friday evenings distributed throughout the school year, 45 students gather in the Dining Commons to discuss three of the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals: no poverty, climate action, and promotion of gender equality. We facilitate learning through keynote speakers from the U.N. Foundation, the U.N., and college professors, as well as engaging activities such as group research, debate, and guided discussion.
The program kicked off on the evening of Friday, October 14th with a lecture and activity on poverty. We welcomed the head of the Economics Department at Rutgers University and RPS parent Dr. Tom Prusa to begin the Global Education program by giving students a solid foundational knowledge on the root causes, characteristics, and trends of poverty. Putting the issue of poverty in a global context, Dr. Prusa empowered the students to delve into its complexities and how to address them by participating in a group activity.
For the second session, held on October 21st, we had the honor of hosting Mr. Pratik Desai, a Global Partnerships Officer at the United Nations Foundation. Mr. Desai currently builds and manages strategic partnerships with Fortune 100 companies in support of the U.N. and U.N. Foundation programs and initiatives, and spoke to the students about the Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the United Nations in 2015, which, in addition to tackling poverty, also attempt to address the issues of climate change and creating a sustainable environment, as well as socio-economic issues.
On Friday, December 2nd, in the Library we welcomed Dr. Gisela Winckler to discuss climate change issues with students and parents at RPS, followed by an interactive group activity. Dr. Winckler is a physicist and isotope geochemist and serves as a Lamont Research Professor at the prestigious Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. She primarily studies paleoclimate and marine geochemistry, and has researched how to apply trace elements and isotopes to solutions to environmental problems. For instance, she was the lead author in her research concerning how upwelling caused by ocean circulation affects the distribution of iron and other nutrients.