3 March 2023, New York, USA - UNITAR New York Office launched the Spring Global Diplomacy Initiative (GDI) Programme, which aims to provide students with practical knowledge and experience in global diplomacy, current global issues, and challenges, as well as United Nations-related topics. Mr Marco A. Suazo, the Head of the UNITAR Office in New York, welcomed the participants and presented the programme objectives, which focused on understanding the United Nations' international agenda and activities. He introduced the panellists and professors who shared their experiences and expertise at the United Nations. The panellists included H.E. Ambassador Dr Yuriy Sergeyev, H.E. Dr Laszlo Molnar, Dr Angel Angelov, Ms Jelena Pia-Comella, Michele Lee Clarke-Ceres, Cemre Ulker, Ms Larisa Schelkin. Mr Suazo provided a brief overview of the GDI agenda and invited all students to introduce themselves and engage with the panellists.
Former Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations, H.E. Ambassador Dr Yuriy Sergeyev, shared his experience as a UN Ambassador and discussed the focus of his upcoming course on international criminal justice and diplomacy. He highlighted that the course will address the issue of geopolitical injustice, including wars, aggressions, human rights violations, genocides, crimes against humanity, economic crimes, and environmental crimes, all of which fall under the umbrella of criminal justice. The course will also examine the effectiveness of global diplomatic efforts in establishing mutual norms and principles to maintain international criminal justice. By the end of the course, students will gain insights into the reasons why the United Nations member states have been unable to prevent major world conflicts.
Dr Angel Angelov, Consulate General of Bulgaria, former First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Bulgaria, and Deputy Permanent Representative of Bulgaria shared his experience representing the Bulgarian mission at the United Nations, with a particular focus on his role at the Security Council. In his upcoming sessions, he plans to provide an advanced introduction to the UN system and share his 11 years of experience working with the main players at the UN. Furthermore, he will explore how the UN responds to complex issues in various situations. Through these sessions, Dr Angelov aims to provide participants with a better understanding of how this intricate system operates.
Ms Michele Lee Clarke-Ceres, a trilingual executive career coach who has worked at the city, state, and federal levels in New York State, as well as at the United Nations as a Secretary Staff and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Consultant, began by sharing her varied experiences that relate to the course she offers. She explained that the course content will provide students with insights on how to enhance their brand, and which strategies and tactics they can use to promote themselves.
Ms Cemre Ulker, a human rights expert who leads global development initiatives for the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and serves as the UN Representative of JWF to the UN DGC, with a special focus on monitoring and reporting on civic and political rights violations, will explore the intersectionality between human rights and press freedom during her course. Her focus will be on the issue of violence against women's rights defenders. She went on to provide more details about the course content, which will have a particular emphasis on media literacy.
H.E. Dr Laszlo Molnar, a Senior Lecturer of Clinical Practice at the Department of Professional Security Studies of New Jersey City University, and a Former Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations will provide an overview of the current global threat landscape. The discussion will draw insights from the analysis of two key international institutions and their databases to examine the politics of nuclear weapons and their role in global security. Through a series of topics, students will gain knowledge of various types and effects of nuclear arms.
In addition, Ms Larisa Schelkin, CEO & Founder of Global STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Education Center, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and President of Global STEM Education Consulting, LLC, discussed the development of science diplomacy. She addressed the current state of affairs and the responsibilities of individuals, as well as the structure of the UN environment. Ms Schelkin also highlighted the UN's GEO-6 article on the environment and discussed where our planet currently stands, using realistic data points.
Ms Jelena Pia-Comella, former Deputy Executive Director of the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect and former Deputy Permanent Representative of Andorra, shared her experiences as a diplomat representing a small country and being a woman in a male-dominated field of multilateral diplomacy. She will guide the students through the significance of developing normative standards at both the international and national levels to promote not only human rights and women's rights but also peace and security in general. She will also discuss the challenges of addressing international law violations at the Security Council.
Towards the end of the session, Mr Suazo expressed his gratitude to both panellists and students for attending. He advised the students to seek assistance or support from UNITAR's team, and he looked forward to the rest of the programme.