6 September 2019, New York, USA - The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) office in New York launched and welcomed the first class of its inaugural UNITAR Global Diplomacy Initiative (UGDI), a programme dedicated to providing a unique, intimate training experience to students in higher education while utilizing the connections and experience of UN delegates and academics.
In hopes of ensuring a brighter future through diplomacy, the UNITAR Global Diplomacy Initiative allows students to experience international relations and contemporary politics and learn from those experienced in those fields — the diplomats themselves. Designed for students enrolled in Political Science, International Relations, or similar academic programs, the program includes access to UNITAR’s Core Diplomatic Training toolkit, weekly three-hour seminars with renowned professors, as well as the opportunity to synthesize diplomatic methodology and current affairs into an academic paper under the guidance of said professors. The Fall 2019 UGDI curriculum includes courses on Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Democracy and the Pillars of the UN Work, Regional Organizations and Conflict Resolution, Women, Peace and Security, UN Security Council Reform, International Justice, and Climate Change and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mrs. Rebecca McLean, the coordinator of the Global Diplomatic Initiative programme, began with a presentation overviewing the United Nations system and mandate. She also provided an explanation on the United Nations Institute for Training and Research for participants as well as spoke about upcoming and past diplomatic training courses. Following that, Mrs. McLean went over guidelines and requirements for the ten-week course, as well as logistics for accessing UN resources and events, navigating security, and communication with UNITAR.
Mr. Marco A. Suazo, the Head of Office of UNITAR New York, then moderated the opening session and introduced the distinguished professors and panelists, who shared their expertise and experience at the United Nations. His Excellency introduced H.E. Mr. Yuriy Sergeyev, Former Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Narinder Kakar, Permanent Observer of University for Peace to the UN and Adjunct Professor at Pace University School of Law, Ms. Jelena Pia-Comella, Former Deputy Permanent Representative of Andorra to the United Nations, Dr. Angel Angelov, First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Bulgaria to the United Nations; Dr. David O’Connor, Permanent Observer for IUCN to the United Nations and Dr. Massimo Tommasoli, Permanent Observer for the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) to the United Nations.
H.E. Mr. Narinder Kakar, Permanent Observer of University for Peace to the UN and Adjunct Professor at Pace University School of Law, provided insight into how he began his work with the UN, and his passion for the climate. He followed by expressing his excitement towards being able to help the new students grow and learn about the SDGs in-depth and how they pertain to the climate. H.E. Mr. Yuriy Sergeyev, Senior Fellow and Lecturer at MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, then shared his experience as an Ambassador of Ukraine to the United Nations, as well as his experience as Chair of the Sixth Committee (Legal), covering the nature of global governance in the United Nations in the post-World War II order.
Dr. Angel Angelov, First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Bulgaria to the United Nations, spoke about his background as a doctoral student and his experience in the Foreign Service. He reminded students to take advantage of the openness of the United Nations system, and the close links between the Security Council and the courses provided. Also, in attendance at the UNITAR GDI opening ceremony were faculty members of the Department of Criminal Justice, Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, Gohar Petrossian, Assistant Professor and the Director of the International Crime and Justice Master’s Program, and Vanessa Gutiérrez, Adjunct Lecturer. Mr. Suazo expressed his appreciation for their significant efforts towards encouraging potential beneficiaries to partake of UNITAR’s course offerings.
The beneficiaries were invited by H.E. Mr. Suazo to share their academic and professional backgrounds with the UGDI panelists as well as UNITAR staff. They were also encouraged to express their expectations for the programme. He concluded by telling the new students to seek assistance from UNITAR if faced with challenges during the process and to explore the opportunities within the UN Journal.