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Seton Hall Diplomacy Sustainable Development Challenge Enables High School Students to Make a Difference While Competing for Scholarships and Prizes

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SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. -- There is a way to make your voice heard if you are a high school student with a desire to positively impact today’s global challenges and the needs of society.

Seton Hall University's School of Diplomacy and International Relations is challenging high school students to be part of the solution and serve the greater good by participating in a Sustainable Development Challenge. This pitch competition is designed to engage high school students in thinking about the needs of society and the planet - encouraging them to be agents of change and embrace the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

The United Nations has set 17 Sustainable Development Goals to help end poverty, fight inequality and injustice and tackle climate change by 2030. Sophomore, junior and senior high school students are invited to submit their 300 to 500 word statement that describes an innovative approach or idea for addressing one of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. This is an opportunity for them to share their thoughts about what they want to do to help make the world a better place, while having the opportunity to compete for $50,000 in prizes and scholarships.

Students can focus on any of the 17 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. They can present an idea aimed at creating awareness or change related to one or more of the goals. Proposals can be for a project, campaign or charity that will assist in attaining one or more of the goals. They can be local or global, with a focus on the students’ school, surrounding community, state, the U.S. or any country or region of the world.

“The Sustainable Development Goals are part of the United Nations agenda for the next 15 years. We train students to propose innovative solutions to real world problems and this scholarship competition offers us a means to invite high school students who will be our next generation of leaders to be part of the process. It’s a chance for them to think outside of themselves and think about how they can contribute to solving real-world problems,” explained Associate Professor Martin Edwards, director of the Center for United Nations and Global Governance Studies in the School of Diplomacy and International Relations.

Submissions should briefly explain the idea and approach to implementing the idea; identify which U.N. Sustainable Development Goal(s) this idea supports; and explain how the idea will contribute to attaining this goal(s). Submissions must be received by Sunday, March 27, 2016 at midnight.

Ten finalists will be selected by late March and invited to present their ideas to a panel of judges at Seton Hall University on Friday, April 22, 2016 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., with a reception to follow. Finalists who cannot come to campus can participate via Skype.

All submitters are also welcome to attend the presentations on April 22 as well as the reception to follow. Students are also cordially invited to join us for Seton Hall University’s Open House on Sunday, April 24, 2016 at 9:00 a.m.

Finalists with the best ideas will win cash prizes and a scholarship to attend Seton Hall. The cash prize can assist in launching the idea or creating awareness about the sustainable development goal or region of the world that is most important to the submitter. The first place winner will receive a $2,500 cash prize and a $10,000 scholarship to attend Seton Hall University ($2,500 annually). The second place winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize plus a $6,000 scholarship to attend Seton Hall University ($1,500 annually). The other finalists will each receive a $4,000 scholarship to attend Seton Hall University ($1,000 annually).

A congratulatory reception on campus immediately following the event will give all finalists and submitters the opportunity to meet with Seton Hall faculty and community members who are experts in the fields of international affairs and sustainable development.

For more information and to apply, go to or contact Martin Edwards at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The School of Diplomacy and International Relations was established in exclusive alliance with the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA), a key division of the United Nations Foundation (UNF) dedicated to policy research, education and advocacy on the United Nations and global issues. UNA-USA and UNF work closely with the school to provide students with opportunities to foster their professional development.


About Seton Hall University

One of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall University has been developing students in mind, heart and spirit since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 rigorous majors, Seton Hall’s academic excellence has been singled out for distinction by The Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Seton Hall, which embraces students of all religions, prepares its graduates to be exemplary servant leaders and global citizens. In recent years, the University has achieved extraordinary success.  Since 2009, the University has seen record-breaking undergraduate enrollment growth in addition to an impressive 95-point increase in the average SAT scores of incoming freshmen. In the past decade, Seton Hall students and alumni have been awarded nearly 20 Fulbright Scholarships as well as other prestigious academic honors including a Rhodes Scholar.  In the past five years, the University has invested more than $134 million in new campus buildings and renovations.  And in 2015, Seton Hall announced plans for a new School of Medicine as well as launched a new College of Communication and the Arts.

A founding member of the new Big East Conference, the Seton Hall Pirates field 14 NCAA Division I varsity sports teams. The University’s beautiful main campus is located in suburban South Orange, New Jersey, and is only 14 miles from New York City - offering its students a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. The University’s nationally recognized School of Law is prominently located in downtown Newark. For more information, visit

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