Ms. Andi Gitow
UN Department of Global Communications (DGC) Chief of Civil Society and Advocacy, Outreach Division
By Patrick Sciarratta, Editor
The best part about my introductory interview with the new UNDGC Chief of Civil Society and Advocacy, Outreach Division, Ms. Andi Gitow, is that she agreed to write an article herself for the NGO Reporter. Possibly in the fall, we can expect to hear from the award-winning journalist and new DGC outreach leader in her own words. And that will be fine. She is a seasoned professional with a deep, rich knowledge and first-hand experience covering natural and man-made disasters, across the globe.
Ms. Gitow has been instrumental in helping us understand the statistics of the day in human terms. “A million people affected is a statistic,” she told me, “one person relaying their own story is what is compelling.”
An amateur volunteer is in awe of the professional journalist with a world of credits that are as meaningful to our goals and mission in civil society as they are compelling for any viewer or reader. Two-time Emmy award- winning journalist, filmmaker and communication expert, Ms. Gitow’s previous experience with the United Nations is broad, covering many important assignments. She was deputy director of the UN office in Washington, DC where she served as a key liaison with the White House, State Department, Pentagon and U.S. Congress, as well as with civil society. She also served in the UN Media Division as Head of Partnerships and as Executive Producer, overseeing the creation of award-winning films, broadcast, and digital content.
She told me that her interest in the humanization of statistical facts began with her early work as a trauma specialist. From there, she spent a decade of stints that took her out of her home for some eight months at a time. In areas of conflict, famine, at refugee flash points and into war itself, she has been there to help tell the human tale, one life at a time.
Most recently, our new Chief of Civil Society and Advocacy has worked on UN Media Partnerships. Her team worked to get impactful digital content onto a wide band of major networks. From work that began with the large, NBC television network, through her work in the media division, she has helped bring NGO programming to life and advocate for greater
inclusion, interest, or action as required to seek relief for those often severely or mortally affected by the crises at hand.
One of many interesting interview topics focused on her work as an adviser to the entertainment community, including serving as an expert consultant to the Emmy-award winning series The Handmaid’s Tale. She helped the cast and directors better understand refugee situations, those forced to flee, the survivor experience, past rapes, oppression, and the loss of basic, human rights – all seen through the eyes of her decades-long, actual career – she helped them turn “the complexity of the reality” into great and riveting drama.
While NGOs will be fortunate to have the service of Ms. Gitow, along with the tremendous staff already working in the name of NGOs at UNDGC, Andi will have other responsibilities.
She will carry on her work to attract media and entertainment figures as well as networks to advocate on air, in person, and by their presence for the many goals developed by the UN for urgent attention. She will interface with the office of Goodwill Ambassadors and Ambassadors for Peace. Essentially, she plans to “tap into the power of that medium to amplify our mission and message. I want to see how we can inspire through every form of advocacy.”
She sees her work with NGOs as an opportunity to ask “how to strategically move forward, to amplify calls to action in proactive ways.” It will be important for her to “engage both ways, for we can become better aware of the NGO’s knowledge of their constituents.”
She continued, “that knowledge will help us understand how NGOs give successful messages to their audiences and how we might also better communicate to them. I’ll be looking for human stories and a community creating one unbelievable story of humanity.”
That will surely provide benefits during our many, anticipated interactions. We wish Andi well here and look forward to collaborating together with her and the caring, intelligent team at UNDGC throughout the coming year.
With this brief introduction, we await more from Ms. Gitow herself later this year, right here in the NGO Reporter. Watch this space.