For two weeks in May, the Yorktown Heights resident will be a student as he participates in a faith-based training program in Switzerland pertaining to human rights and advocacy. Casella was among 12 Catholic educators chosen to attend the conference, which kicked off May 1 in Geneva.
The training program is presented by Edmund Rice International (ERI), an organization committed to promoting and protecting the rights of children and young adults, particularly with regard to education.
“We hired Anthony because we wanted a proven innovator who would make our Campus Ministry program the epicenter of the school,” Iona Preparatory President Brother Thomas Leto said.
The ERI program coincides with a session of the Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Casella and other participants will do the following at the training program:
- Offer input on the various mechanisms of the Human Rights Council and the Universal Periodic Review, as well as the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
- Attend sessions of the Human Rights Council and view its workings first hand.
- Meet representatives of the UN, diplomatic missions and like-minded non-governmental organizations.
- Learn about the work of ERI and ways to facilitate effective advocacy by affiliated organizations.
- Prepare or update an advocacy plan to be presented to local leadership for discussion and approval.
“This is a unique opportunity for me to connect with other Christian Brothers schools worldwide and lay the groundwork for how, together, we can unite to transform our individual advocacy efforts into collective human rights activism,” Casella said.
Casella is a graduate of Iona Prep and went on to earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Iona College along with a master’s at Fordham University. He is currently pursuing a specialist in education degree at Seton Hall University. Casella worked part-time at Iona Prep in the Advancement Office from 1998 to 2001 and later worked in administration. He returned to Iona Prep in 2011 as director of Campus Ministry.
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