In Praise of the United Nations: Part I

“The UN is a group of people trying to make things better!” – Kid President


Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 11.05.06 PMWhen I was in middle school I gave up on being a ballerina, a doctor and/or a children’s book author. Instead I decided that I would be the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. I was going to move to Manhattan and make good use of my then-three years of knowledge of the Spanish language. This came at a time when I was a) fascinated with Manhattan and b) I had just learned how to conjugate a verb in the subjunctive. Have you ever learned to do that in Spanish? It’s hard. I deserved great things in my life and this was going to be it.


While I have yet to realize my dream of taking over for Samantha Power (Ambassador! Call me!) I have managed to rub elbows with organizations and people who work with or on behalf of the UN. And each time one of these organizations requests my words on their behalf, I become positively giddy. To you it might seem silly to see a long forgotten dream come kind of true in a rather circuitous fashion but have you ever experienced United Nations Week in New York City? The entire island of Manhattan is buzzing with excitement and bursting at the seams with big ideas to improve global society. It’s glorious.


Since coming up with their Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) UN Week has taken on a whole new meaning. The intergovernmental organization formed to provide conflict resolution worldwide is now a hotbed of action driven by people who want to see these MDGs into fruition. The idea being that the problems that the UN wants to see resolved cannot be done by the heads of their 193 member states. The worldwide problems are put into the middle and we are all given a part to play.


During UN week this past September I remember hearing all of the very ‘woo-woo’, Kumbaya of the organizations who have taken these MDGs under their wings and thinking how lofty and lovely it is that these people want to solve global poverty or provide primary education across the world. Insane really. And then I went from the Social Good Summit to the Clinton Global Initiative both of which are held in conjunction with the UN’s annual meeting and everywhere I went I moved through throngs of people who were genuinely excited to play their world. It was palpable and contagious.


Which led me to a realization that while I might never be the US ambassador to the UN and that others — even those reading this post — might think that this is all BS and that providing clean water and eradicating malaria will never ever ever happen; despite all of that I had this gut feeling that I want to help. I need to do something. The only question now is what.

Keep the conversation going with Heather Barmore at Poliogue: The Art of Political Dialogue, Twitter and Facebook.

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