Collegiate Congress, founded Indian student Christo Thomas, was instrumental in drafting the UN resolution adopting the day.
Last month when the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to observe January 24 as the International Day of Education, it was a moment of proud personal accomplishment for the New York City-based Christo Thomas.
Thomas is the founder of Collegiate Congress, student organization in the city, which campaigned for the resolution. The organization, founded by Thomas, serves as a platform for international students to share and learn about each-others’ cultures. It worked toward consulting and researching for the resolution.
The resolution was also sponsored by the permanent mission of Nigeria to the United Nations and co-sponsored by 58 other member states.
It is a significant step, as up until now, United Nations did not have any special day dedicated to education, even though education plays such a vital role in global development and peacekeeping.
“As a chairman, I was fortunate to lead my team in drafting and developing the resolution,” Thomas told The American Bazaar about his role in the resolution. “Every part of this resolution relates to the sustainable development goals.”
The idea had to go through its share of hard work to see its realization. “Developing this resolution wasn’t an easy task,” he said. “It went through many revisions and discussions before the mission of Nigeria to the UN agreed to sponsor this and present it to the UN General Assembly.”
Thomas said he had meetings with many UN personnel, including the mission of United States and many other ambassadors and diplomats in “an effort to drum up support and solicit feedback for our resolution.”
On how the idea of having an International Day of Education came about, Thomas said it was while working for an initiative with Collegiate Congress and United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), he and his colleagues discovered that the world body doesn’t have a specific day dedicated to education, “even though, the declaration of human rights emphasizes a right to education.”
He pointed out that “almost 125 member states have right to education listed as a fundamental right.”
Thomas said with all these in mind, his organization drafted a concept note and contacted a senior UN diplomat.
Thomas came to the United States from Kerala, India, to do a master’s in urban affairs at the City University of New York. Currently he is enrolled for a master’s in international affairs at Baruch College.
He credits his desire to channel a positive change in the society to his upbringing. Growing up in a political family and as a son a lawyer-politician, social policies have always remained close to his heart and that led him to form Collegiate Congress in 2016, Thomas told the American Bazaar. The organization is also set to open their first international office in France next year, followed by another one in Canada.
While Thomas has big dreams for Collegiate Congress, for now his eyes are set on January 24, when the United Nations Headquarters, will be hosting the inaugural official international Day of Education. The event will see prominent presence. The guests of honor will include the secretary-general of the UN Antonio Guterres former Prime Minister of United Kingdom and the UN Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO. Permanent Representatives of UN member states and UN Agencies will also be attending the event.