Every year on March 8th, communities around the world celebrate International Women’s Day. This global holiday recognizes the importance of gender equality, as well as the importance of empowering women of every age in all nations.
The MUN Institute works hard to align with the educational values of the United Nations – especially on issues like gender equality. Every summer, we see how important it is for young people – whether they’re female, male, or non-binary – to have access to education that will develop their understanding of global issues like sustainable development, nuclear non-proliferation, and more.
In honor of International Women’s Day we’re profiling Laurabeth Goldsmith, Best Delegate’s Director of Partnerships and a lifelong advocate for gender equality (among many other causes). Laurabeth attended Emory University and studied Political Science and Community Building and Social Change, and she was also an active leader in the Emory Model UN community, serving as Head Delegate and President. During her junior year, she embarked on the adventure of a lifetime after she won the Presidential Scholarship from Semester At Sea that enabled her to travel the world learning and teaching about gender equality. After four months traveling around 17 countries, Laurabeth had met hundreds of amazing people and had incredible experiences – but for her, the highlight of her semester was teaching gender equality, self-defense, and human rights to young people in numerous countries.
One of Laurabeth’s most significant experiences during her time abroad was teaching self-defense and human rights in Ghana, where young girls shared stories about child marriage. “I also worked with girls in South Africa who were survivors of gender-based violence, and continue to volunteer with young men and women in North East India who overcame tremendous personal gender-based discrimination in order to advocate for others.” While Laurabeth taught girls about their rights, what she learned along the way changed her life.
After Laurabeth’s amazing experiences traveling the world to promote gender equality and human rights, she knew she wasn’t done! She joined the Best Delegate team in 2014, and has continued working to advocate for the education of young people. One of her passion projects for the past few years has been working with North East India International Model United Nations, an organization that works to “train a generation of young people with a more accurate understanding of the UN, the world, and inspire to remain passionate and committed to making a positive contribution to humanity.”
“Since 2014 I have had the great opportunity to serve as a training partner of North East India Model United Nations Conference. Every year I eagerly await the opportunity to work with young boys and girls to have a dialogue about gender inequality,” remarked Laurabeth about her time at NEIMUN. Students from all over India and the region attend NEIMUN to learn about global issues, and they walk away from the experience with changed perspectives.
Delegate Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak said that working with Laurabeth at NEIMUN made her believe in new aspirations and have the confidence in herself to dream and explore new career field. “Last October, I saw NEIMUN binding the diverse people of the world in a single thread of togetherness and unity. Laurabeth made this gigantic task somewhat easier through her ideals on cross-cultural diversity. Someday, if and when I become a real diplomat, I shall look back and realize the importance of the role Laurabeth has played and the enormity of the change NEIMUN has made.”
Laurabeth has also spent the past decade volunteering with the World Association for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.Laurabeth has traveled to more than 50 countries learning about global issues such as gender equality and education.
Overall, we are so proud to have Laurabeth as part of the Best Delegate and MUN Institute teams. She is an inspiration for students and teachers around the world who wish to work hard to solve global issues like gender equality, and she serves as a shining example of diplomacy, activism, and humanitarianism to our MUN Institute campers every summer.
Interested in becoming an activist for global change like Laurabeth? Learn more about our summer programs for students ages 11-18!