UN MEMORIES

Leading a life committed to the environment

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) strives to transform the international environmental agenda, with effective action and long-term plans for future generations to come. As part of her 29 years work for the United Nations, Laura Mezsaros reflects fondly...

Leïla Benkirane, talentueuse actrice de la scène onusienne

Aujourd’hui retraitée, Leïla Benkirane a consacré trente années de sa vie professionnelle à l’ONU, à New York puis à Genève, principalement dans les domaines du droit international et de la gestion. Recrutée en tant que juriste, Leïla a travaillé au Bureau des...

La course de fond d’une onusienne passionnée

L’ONU est un cocktail improbable de profils et de talents, une sorte de millefeuilles dont chaque couche recèle de savoureux secrets. Il est toujours passionnant, tel un géologue, d’en explorer les profondeurs. Et la géologie mène à tout, y compris à l’ONU. ...

A life in protection — to retirement and beyond

Machiel Salomons is Executive Director for the Netherlands branch of United Way, one of the largest charities in the world. And that is only what he has been doing since retirement from the United Nations. He entered the world of international organizations through a...

Language matters

Mother language cannot and should not be replaced: it conveys history, culture, traditions, and sometimes drives political movements. Words also matter when they are linked to human rights: they often represent fights for equity and against unacceptable injustices. I...

Language, culture and a global mindset

When mankind became too pushy, you may recall from the biblical story, they were thwarted in their ambitions by the divine imposition of multiple languages. So, they could no longer understand each other and the Tower of Babel collapsed, together with humanity’s reach...

The discreet charm of quiet UN careers

Not all careers at the UN are adventurous. Not all deal with more or less impossible conflict resolutions, nor with sensitive endless negotiations, even less with exciting ‘Ian Fleming’ style jobs. Most UN staff serve the organization very discreetly, performing...

Memories of Africa: Poverty and other surprises

I was 42 years old when I was transferred from the UN Secretariat in New York to the UN Development Programme (UNDP). Having moved up over 15 years through a variety of jobs in Conference Services, Administration and Management, and the Cabinet of the Director-General...

Interagency coordination should not be watered down!

In 2006, when the “One UN” initiative was launched with trumpets, I was an enthusiastic cheerleader ready to shout: “UN agencies, unite!.” Working at UNCTAD I was well placed to understand that the universe of development issues is like a puzzle with an infinite...

UN MEMORIES

Leïla Benkirane, talentueuse actrice de la scène onusienne

Aujourd’hui retraitée, Leïla Benkirane a consacré trente années de sa vie professionnelle à l’ONU, à New York puis à Genève, principalement dans les domaines du droit international et de la gestion. Recrutée en tant que juriste, Leïla a travaillé au Bureau des...

La course de fond d’une onusienne passionnée

L’ONU est un cocktail improbable de profils et de talents, une sorte de millefeuilles dont chaque couche recèle de savoureux secrets. Il est toujours passionnant, tel un géologue, d’en explorer les profondeurs. Et la géologie mène à tout, y compris à l’ONU. ...

A life in protection — to retirement and beyond

Machiel Salomons is Executive Director for the Netherlands branch of United Way, one of the largest charities in the world. And that is only what he has been doing since retirement from the United Nations. He entered the world of international organizations through a...

Language matters

Mother language cannot and should not be replaced: it conveys history, culture, traditions, and sometimes drives political movements. Words also matter when they are linked to human rights: they often represent fights for equity and against unacceptable injustices. I...

Language, culture and a global mindset

When mankind became too pushy, you may recall from the biblical story, they were thwarted in their ambitions by the divine imposition of multiple languages. So, they could no longer understand each other and the Tower of Babel collapsed, together with humanity’s reach...

The discreet charm of quiet UN careers

Not all careers at the UN are adventurous. Not all deal with more or less impossible conflict resolutions, nor with sensitive endless negotiations, even less with exciting ‘Ian Fleming’ style jobs. Most UN staff serve the organization very discreetly, performing...

Memories of Africa: Poverty and other surprises

I was 42 years old when I was transferred from the UN Secretariat in New York to the UN Development Programme (UNDP). Having moved up over 15 years through a variety of jobs in Conference Services, Administration and Management, and the Cabinet of the Director-General...

Interagency coordination should not be watered down!

In 2006, when the “One UN” initiative was launched with trumpets, I was an enthusiastic cheerleader ready to shout: “UN agencies, unite!.” Working at UNCTAD I was well placed to understand that the universe of development issues is like a puzzle with an infinite...

La diplomatie des murmures

1994-Haïti. Après trois ans de pouvoir des militaires, le gouvernement des États-Unis, appuyé par la communauté internationale, avait entrepris de chasser les factieux et de financer les élections constitutionnelles pour rendre au pays ses institutions malmenées par...

How easy is it to be declared persona non grata?

Only animals were not expelled from Paradise My first UN job was as a Junior Professional Officer with UNDP in Lesotho (1976-78). The Assistant Representative was telling me stories about his previous post in Somalia, how he was expelled for spying because he had been...

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