1 May 2013, New York, US – The UNITAR New York Office, welcomed over 60 delegates to their annual orientation workshop in New York. H. E. Mr. František Ružička, Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the UN, introduced the workshop with a lively presentation, giving an overview of “the diplomat in an international setting,” where he emphasized the importance of the UN as a unique forum for all Member States, and also discussed the importance of trust building for long term credibility as a diplomat. Then, Mr. Larry Johnson, Former Assistant-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, explained the structure of the UN, focusing on the General Assembly. He gave an overview of the history of the UN, and talked about the background and history of the UN Charter and its different chapters. Ambassador Ahmad Kamal, Senior Fellow at UNITAR and Former President of ECOSOC, further explained the role and functions of the Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary organs.

Mr. Nikolai Galkin and Mr. David Biggs, both Senior Political Affairs Officers within the Department of Political Affairs, focused on the role and functions of the Security Council and its subsidiary organs. Mr. Ziad Mahmassani, General Assembly Affairs Branch, talked about the role and functions of the General Assembly, explaining how the decisions are made and noted the importance of elections. Mr. Paul Johnson, Chief Secretariat Staffing with the Office of Human Resources Management, described the UN Secretariat and gave statistics on the number of people employed by the UN throughout the world.

The second day included a focus on the services available to the Permanent Missions. Mr. Fariz Mirsalayev, Protocol Officer at the Protocol and Liaison Service, gave an explanation of important protocol functions, including coordinating official visits from Heads of State and managing the UN Blue Book. Another speaker was Ms. Mildred Fernandez, Former Chief of Meetings Management Section, who, along with her team, discussed Conferences Services and document management at the UN. Mr. Stephane Dujarric, Director of News and Media Division, Department of Public Information gave a comprehensive overview of media relations and public information services in New York.

The last segment of the workshop also focused on further services available to the New York diplomatic community. Ms. Joëlle Sciboz, a Librarian at the Dag Hammarskjöld Library, gave a comprehensive presentation on the online tools and resources available for delegates. Then, a team from the Office of Host Country Affairs gave critical information on taxes, visas, and safety, and answered many questions from delegates. Finally, Ms. Maria-Luisa Chavez, Chief of the NGO Liaison Office, Department of Public Information, explained the important happenings related to civil society relations.

The participants greatly appreciated this learning event, evidenced by the concluding applause and evaluations. Diplomats, some having been in New York for as little as two weeks, were pleased to have some orientation to the UN system.