2021 Conference, March 18-19

Without a question, the coronavirus has affected every individual. Lack of leadership and preparation left the majority of the world’s countries in disarray. As a result, millions have lost their lives and millions more have been infected. In order to prevent future pandemics, we, along with the world’s leaders, must collaborate and work towards a future of transparency and changes in the way we combat and prepare for potential pandemics. The 2021 UNIS-UN conference will explore the possible strategies and global collaboration that could have prevented the exacerbation of COVID-19. In addition, this conference will investigate the disparities accentuated by the pandemic, specifically in healthcare, education, and economic systems. Furthermore, we will examine how COVID-19 has highlighted the racial discrepancies that exist in society today. 


"I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the excellent working paper produced last year which we have delved into with our students at various stages this year."

-  Institut Florimont, Switzerland

Today's conference was about working together to solve the world's problems and how we move forward to improve the future. All speakers today stressed the importance of global communication and cooperation to end the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, many cited the increase in racial prejudice and the suffering of education and health care as points that must be addressed by all countries. Covid-19 has exposed our weaknesses and we must use this time to rebuild ourselves stronger and better than before.

- Sammi McLemore, ridgefield high school

Conference Highlights

Meet our Speakers

Dr. Anthony Fauci, UNIS-UN 2021 Keynote Speaker



Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, where he oversees an extensive research portfolio focused on infectious and immune-mediated diseases.  As the long-time chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, Dr. Fauci has made many seminal contributions in basic and clinical research and is one of the world’s most-cited biomedical scientists. He was one of the principal architects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program that has saved millions of lives throughout the developing world. 

Dr. Michael S. Phillips, UNIS-UN Live Q&A Speaker


Michael Phillips, M.D. is an Infectious Disease Specialist and the Chief Epidemiologist at NYU Langone Health. Dr. Phillips is also a professor at the Department of Medicine at NYU, as well as the Associate Director for Clinical Services in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology.

Christiane Amanpour, UNIS-UN Keynote Speaker

Christiane Amanpour is CNN's chief international anchor and host of the network's award-winning, flagship global affairs program "Amanpour," on CNN International in London and "Amanpour & Co." on PBS in the United States.

Her illustrious career in journalism spans over three decades joining CNN in 1983.  Amanpour rose through the organization becoming the network's chief foreign correspondent reporting on international crisis’ and interviewed most of the top world leaders. She has received every major broadcast award, including fourteen News and Documentary Emmys, four Peabody Awards, two George Polk Awards, three duPont-Columbia Awards, the Courage in Journalism Award, and ten honorary degrees. 

She was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame, Broadcast & Cable Hall of Fame and The Atlanta Press Club’s Hall of Fame.  She is a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and an honorary citizen of Sarajevo.  Amanpour is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island.

Sanjay Gupta, UNIS-UN Keynote Speaker

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the multiple Emmy®-award winning chief medical correspondent for CNN. Since 2001, Gupta has covered some of the most important health stories in the United States and around the world. Just weeks after Gupta started at CNN, he reported from New York following the 9/11 terror attacks. Over the last few years, Gupta has increasingly focused on long-form reporting. 

In addition to his work for CNN, Gupta is an associate professor of neurosurgery at Emory University Hospital and associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. He serves as a diplomate of the American Board of Neurosurgery. And in 2019, Gupta was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, considered one of the highest honors in the medical field.

Gupta contributes to the CBS newsmagazine "60 Minutes" and serves as an executive producer for the HBO Documentary Unit. He is the author of three New York Times best-selling books. In 2021, Gupta co-founded LIFE ITSELF conference with Marc Hodosh of TEDMED. The four day conference will features extraordinary thinkers intersecting health & medicine — from research, technology, government, entertainment & business.

Gupta received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and a Doctorate of Medicine degree from the University of Michigan Medical School.

Ambassador Burhan Gafoor, UNIS-UN 2021 Speaker


Mr. Burhan Gafoor is Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Singapore to the United Nations in New York. Born on 20 October 1965, he joined the Foreign Service in 1988 and served in many roles, including:

  • High Commissioner to Australia (September 2014 to July 2016)
  • Ambassador and Chief Negotiator for Climate Change Negotiations (May 2010 to July 2014)
  • Ambassador to France (October 2007 to December 2010), with concurrent accreditation as Ambassador to Portugal
  • Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva (September 2004 to August 2007), with concurrent accreditation as Ambassador to Turkey
  • Press Secretary to then Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Goh Chok Tong (August 2002 to August 2004)

Educational Background: Bachelor of Social Science (Honours) degree in Political Science from the National University of Singapore in 1988; Masters in Public Administration from the John F Kennedy School of Government at Havard University in 1997; Degree in Public Administration from the Ecole Nationale d’Administration in Paris in 2002.

Ambassador Gafoor was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Silver) in 2001 and the Public Administration Medal (Gold) in 2013 by the Singapore Government. Mr. Gafoor was also awarded the “Grand Officer de l’Ordre National du Mérite” medal by the Government of France in 2011. Ambassador Gafoor is married to Ms Zarina Varukatty and they have two boys.

Richard Rivera

UNIS-UN Speaker

Paolo Belli

UNIS-UN Speaker

Hasan Kwame Jeffries

UNIS-UN Speaker

Robert Jenkins

UNIS-UN Speaker

Alexis Neophytides, Jay Molina, Vincent Pierce


Jay Varma

UNIS-UN Speaker

Ana María Bazán & Ismael García Colón

UNIS-UN Speakers

Andrew Hudson

UNIS-UN Speaker

Donate to the UNICEF COVID-19 International Relief Effort

UNIS-UN has chosen to support UNICEF in their efforts to protect children during this pandemic.  As young adults of a student-led organization, we felt that protecting the future generations through an affiliated UN Organization would be most impactful and meaningful.

Help us raise the much needed funds for children around the world by donating using the form below.  We will update you on all of the donations received and include the name of your school as partners in supporting this effort.  Please make your donations here so that we can track our progress and include your school in the campaign.

2021 Working Paper

For any additional questions, please contact info@unis-un.org