UN/DPI ORIENTATION for NGO-DESIGNATED
28 February 2013
The Youth Orientation Programme that I participated in on Thursday 28 February was a great experience and an inspiration for the 54 DPI/NGO student representatives who were in attendance. One thing that was noteworthy was the variety of nationalities that were present; we had students from China, India, Pakistan, Japan, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Brazil, and so on. Maria-Luisa Chavez, Chief of NGO Relations, was the moderator and welcomed and introduced the speakers.
I truly enjoyed the first speaker, Mahar Nasser, who told his personal story of how he got to where he is today as Director of the Outreach Division in the Department of Public Information. He grew up in a refugee camp in Gaza where the UN offered schooling to young children, which is why I had a particular interest in his story as I am studying international relations and the politics of the Middle East at Long Island University. Listening and meeting with people who, despite a tough start, have accomplished so much, was unbelievably inspiring.
The main speaker was Ahmad Alhendawi, the newly appointed Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth. Ms. Chavez was very pleased to see him, as he had been appointed to the position just a few days before the meeting. I think we all envied Mr. Alhendwi and listened in total concentration as he answered questions about his career prior to his recent appointment and about his plans for future collaboration with us.
We learned about the importance of networking and sharing information through the social media and about our role as youth DPI representatives. I must say that I truly enjoyed the Orientation Programme and as much as I found the speakers inspiring, I found it equally rewarding to meet and exchange ideas with the youth representatives. This meeting created a lot of positive energy among us; we were all different, yet we shared a lot in common in terms of our future prospects and career goals.
International Relations Student
Long Island University