Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Paula Sevilla Nuñez, the program officer of NYU Center on International Cooperation. Let’s learn what’s happening at NYU Center on International Cooperation and how Paula is making a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Paula! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through NYU Center on International Cooperation
Paula: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! At NYU CIC, through the Pathfinders initiative, I work with governments and organizations to think through ways to reduce inequalities in societies, so that everyone has access to services and opportunities. We show how societies that are more equal are also better positioned to address other challenges, like climate change, pandemics, or violence. We help raise awareness of lessons learned and experiences from different countries and organizations, and provide evidence for the importance of ensuring fairer outcomes for all members of society regardless of their income, race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, etc.
Spiffy: What motivates you to do it?
Paula: What motivates me to do it is getting the opportunity to hear about the wonderful work that people all over the world are doing to make their countries and communities better places to live in. My favorite part of the job is connecting people from different countries working on similar issues so that they can learn from each other, hear about different ways in which people are seeking to improve their environment, prevent violence, increase the opportunities of the most vulnerable, and ensure that everyone in society is contributing their fair share to advancing our collective goals.
Spiffy: What is the impact of your work?
Paula: Through our work, we show how important it is to reduce inequalities. We get to advise on how a policy or program can help reduce inequalities and increase unity within or across countries. We also raise awareness of the work being done across the world to improve people’s lives, whether it is by a government, an organization, or groups of citizens. We therefore show that change is possible and high inequality is not inevitable, and encourage policymakers to act to ensure societies are fair and inclusive.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience/community?
Paula: We recently brought together government, organization, and civil society representatives to provide their inputs on how housing policies can help reduce urban inequalities in Sierra Leone. This allowed different people to share their concerns and desires, talk about their experiences, and learn about possible solutions to improve living conditions in cities in Sierra Leone. Policymakers can use the recommendations from these dialogues to improve their policies for housing.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Paula—it’s been an honor!
Paula Sevilla Núñez is a Program Officer at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation, working on the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies program. In her work she seeks to promote peaceful and prosperous societies through inclusive urban policy. Prior to joining CIC, Paula worked with numerous peacebuilding and international development organizations. Paula holds a double BA in International Relations and Public Policy, and a Masters in Urban Planning from New York University. (First published on the Ladderworks website on November 16, 2023.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.
© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Daniela Vega. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.