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United Nations Academic Impact and MCN are proud to partner on the Millennium Fellowship. Over 31,000 young leaders on 2,400+ campuses across 140+ nations applied to join the Class of 2022.  200+ campuses worldwide (just 8%) were selected to host the 3,000+ Millennium Fellows.



Columbia University | New York, United States | Advancing SDG 4 & UNAI 3


" Millennium embodies a community. While the path towards social change is a lonely one, Millennium gives me the opportunity to funnel my passion to a community that is not only receptive, but critical. I want to build upon my preconceptions about the world and challenge my perspectives with founders, creators, and movers with unique backgrounds, tantalizing dreams, and never-ending fire to change the world. "

Millennium Fellowship Project: Stories of Solidarity

Stories of Solidarity will be a ethnic-studies history curriculum and interactive education program designed for K-12 students in the New York City region. The curriculum targets the pedagogy of intersectional ethnic histories (i.e. History of Black-Asian relations) with the purpose of building solidarity within ethnic communities that remain persistently segregated in not only academic, but cultural and social spheres. While NYC remains one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the US, it continues to exhibit enduring trends of racial tension. With the recent rise in Black-Asian animosity following the George Floyd tragedy and rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, it is becoming increasingly clear that segregation of ethnic communities in New York contributes to the spread of misinformation and cultivates unconscious apprehension.

Stories of Solidarity will work to dispel misunderstanding through knowledge. Schools remain some of the most segregated social institutions in NYC: UCLA’s Civil Rights Projects finds 19 out of 32 Community School Districts in NYC had 10% or less white students. In addition, the study finds that schools disproportionately sort Latino and Black students and Asian students separately, reinforcing ethnic segregation from adolescence that cascades into perpetual ignorance.

Humanities curricula, especially those of history, contain limited representation of racial minorities in NYC and the US. This is insufficient on two levels: one; representation is porous with several perspectives, such as Asian-American history, omitted from didactic modules, and two; current curricula isolate historical narratives as if they were distinct from one another, feeding the trope that ethnic groups were disassociated throughout history. We wish to address both these issues. Stories of Solidarity is distinct from other ethnic integrated curricula as it aims to centralize around an interracial thesis that moves away from the presentation of one singular ethnic history to a perspective of their authentic relativities. Modules, for example, will include the Asian-Black coalition building between Civil Rights activists Malcom X and Yuri Kochiyama or the Korean-Black racial tensions of the 1992 LA riots.In designing school curricula, in addition, we hope to make them specific to New York City.

By discussing these events of interracial interactions, we hope to open critical dialogue around the causes and implications of these conjoined minority histories that moves away from a predominantly white-exclusive binary (i.e. the history of White-Black or White-Asian racism). We then arrive at the present, where the culmination of this is evaluated via an examination of the current status of minority solidarity in NYC and the United States today.

Finally, we wish for the program to have implications for community-building with pragmatic results. In other words, students would be able to transform the knowledge they’ve amassed into actionable avenues of change. The program will feature a one-on-one pairing of students from different schools with the purpose of creating their own “projects for peace” as we provide resources and advocacy workshops for students to enact social change in the form of their own projects. Based on preliminary research, students have expressed interest in projects that range from art murals of solidarity to being intermediates between community leaders in the NYC area.

We hope this preliminary attempt acts as a launching pad for an aggressive expansion of scope and scale. As we continue with the creation of this pilot program, we plan to codify each step of the process into systemized academic research with the hope of utilizing our findings to develop further research and applications of inter-racial studies. In addition, we plan to disseminate our curricula and resources, after review by professionals, to various high school districts within and beyond NYC for use. We firmly believe interracial history is a core tenet necessary for people of color to build solidarity.

About the Millennium Fellow

Jae Joon Lee is a rising senior at Columbia University studying History and Economics. An immigrant living in the US, Jae is passionate about social issues pertaining to underserved communities, especially facilitated through education. Jae has worked with government bodies such as the US Congress and US Senate, where he delved into community policy issues, especially for minority communities. On campus, Jae is involved with the student council as a Race and Ethnicity Representative and is President of the Korean Students Association, where he has advocated for Asian American student policies with University administration. Moving forward, Jae continues to utilize education as a way to move social change.

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