Senior will hone advocacy skills as U.N. Women’s Conference delegate

Heather Mooney '11

Clark University senior Heather A. Mooney, of Waltham, will gain experience in the art of advocacy as a delegate to the annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women meetings to be held from Feb. 22 to March 4 at the U.N. headquarters in New York City. She is one of only 23 women students chosen from across the nation to participate in the Practicum in Advocacy at the United Nations.

This week-long program offers an opportunity to observe how the U.N. works to address issues requiring multilateral engagement and coordinated action between governments and civil society groups. This year, the Commission’s priority theme is “access and participation of women and girls in education, training, science and technology.” Mooney’s temporary delegate status will allow her to attend official and non-government organization (NGO) sessions, and contribute to the official documentation of both official and NGO meetings.

“Heather’s participation in this conference represents the essence of what we want for Clark students—integrating knowledge from the classroom with practical experience.” ~Kristen Williams, associate professor of political science

Mooney, along with the other participants, will learn how to network with NGOs, observe high-level negotiations, meet government officials and participate in turning specific proposals into documents that can be adopted by U.N. bodies.

“A long-term goal of mine has been to work in international law representing an interest group that does not necessarily have the visibility crucial to propelling egalitarian social progress,” Mooney wrote, regarding her forthcoming experience with the CSW. She plans to create an advocacy project when she returns to the Clark University campus.

“Heather’s participation in this conference represents the essence of what we want for Clark students—integrating knowledge from the classroom with practical experience,” said Kristen Williams, associate professor of political science, and Mooney’s adviser at Clark. “This is a wonderful opportunity for her to bring her knowledge of sociology and women’s and gender studies to the policy world, and in turn, her experience at the conference will inform her scholarship.”

The practicum on the Commission on the Status of Women is sponsored by the Center for Women's Health and Human Rights at Suffolk University, Boston; the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and the National Women's Studies Association, with assistance from Physicians for Human Rights.

“We teach the women how important citizen engagement is,” said Laura Roskos, co-president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and activist-in-residence at the Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights.

Mooney is pursuing a double major in Sociology and Women and Gender Studies. Her extracurricular activities at Clark include the Fiat Lux Honors Society and the Scarlet Key Society. She also is a dance teacher and program facilitator of a dating violence education program on campus. A Waltham native, Mooney graduated from Belmont High School in 2007.

Since its founding in 1887, Clark University in Worcester, Mass., has a history of challenging convention. As an innovative liberal arts college and research university, Clark’s world-class faculty lead a community of creative thinkers and passionate doers and offer a range of expertise, particularly in the areas of psychology, geography, urban education, Holocaust and genocide studies, environmental studies, and international development and social change. Clark’s students, faculty and alumni embody the Clark motto: Challenge convention. Change our world. www.clarku.edu

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