Our Day at UN Headquarters
Last month my fellow interns and I had the opportunity to spend the day at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. While in N.Y., we attended the United Nations Association’s Members’ Day event at the United Nations General Assembly. We joined 1,200 other American students who shared our sense of awe and excitement. It was an impressive example of the level of engagement and commitment among young people in the United States to bettering the world around them and achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
We had the opportunity to attend the Noon Press Briefing by the Secretary-General’s Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq. During the briefing, we sat in the same room where just days later Secretary-General Antonio Guterres would hold a press conference calling international attention to growing food crises in Africa and Yemen where more than 20 million people are at risk of famine. Hearing Mr. Haq speak about the UN’s humanitarian work on the front lines around the globe was an important reminder for us of how relevant and necessary the work of the UN and its agencies is to saving lives every day.
While in New York, we were also able to join a guided tour of the UN Headquarters. The tour hits many of the iconic places and sites at the Headquarters, including the Security Council where nations come together to work for peace. It is here that many scenes from history have played out and the world’s governments manage the critical work of the 16 UN Peacekeeping missions around the world. Walking into the room, you can’t help but notice the large mural on its back wall. The painting, a gift from Norway, features a Phoenix rising out of the ashes of World War II and into a future of peace and harmony. It is an important reminder of the aspirations of the organization and the many obstacles that remain to achieving its goals.
Photo Gallery of Our Visit
The day’s activities and sites left us with a renewed sense of purpose. The mission of the UN is as crucial as ever, and the role that Americans of our generation play in this mission is vital. The UN Headquarters stands as a testament to international cooperation and American leadership in these goals. We left deeply committed to both. Many thanks to UNA-USA, The Spokesperson’s Office and the Visitor’s Centre for giving us this incredible opportunity.
-Stefanie Feltwell, UNIC Spring 2017 Intern