New York, USA – The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) New York Office concluded the Spring Session of one of its flagship programme – Global Diplomacy Initiative (GDI) with a virtual closing ceremony. The UNITAR GDI programme provides a one-of-a-kind training experience to young professionals and students in higher stages of education who are interested in the United Nations (UN) to get a sneak peek into its functioning while also developing technical knowledge and learning from the experience of UN delegates and academicians.
In compliance with the ongoing COVID-19 health and safety measures, the GDI training that typically took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York was transformed to an online edition to encourage and include participation from around the world. The GDI Spring Session 2021, which was the second administration of this programme in an entirely online format after the first administration in Fall 2020, saw participation by professionals and students from across the globe such as Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, UAE, Korea, Norway, UK, Sweden, USA, among others. Over the course of the last three months, the participants got the opportunity to interact and deliberate with the UN legal experts and diplomats and increase their knowledge on matters of global importance like climate change, sustainable development goals (SDGs), gender equality, contemporary politics and diplomacy among others. The 2021 Spring Session GDI curriculum offered courses on United Nations 101, International Criminal Justice & Diplomacy, SDGs, UN in Global Diplomacy, Climate Change – Kyoto to Paris, Regional Organizations and Conflict Resolution, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), and Women, Peace and Security.
The virtual closing ceremony was attended by the participants, UNITAR staff, and the course facilitators which included experts and diplomats from various fields like Dr. Angel Angelov, Former First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Bulgaria to the United Nations; H.E. Dr. Yuriy Sergeyev, Former Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations; Ms. Jelena Pia-Comella, Former Deputy Executive Director, International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect; Mr. H.E. Mr. Narinder Kakar Permanent Observer of University for Peace to the UN and Adjunct Professor at Pace University School of Law; and Gohar Petrossian, Director of the International Crime and Justice Master’s Program at John Jay College.
The ceremony began with the welcome remarks that were offered by the Head of UNITAR New York Office, Mr. Marco Suazo, who thanked everyone for their participation and efforts in making the GDI programme a success. He mentioned that the objective of this programme is to provide young professionals and students interested in international relations access to the UN and increase their knowledge about many issues that are discussed in the UN daily such as human rights violations, crimes against humanity, terrorism, carbon emissions and climate change among others to enhance their understanding of the world that we live in. He also expressed his happiness on the successful completion of this program in the virtual format despite the ongoing global health challenges and thanked the UNITAR team and the facilitators for their commitment and efforts before opening the floor to the participants and the facilitators.
H.E. Mr. Narinder Kakar congratulated the UNITAR team for organizing the programme and the students for their active participation and enthusiasm in the classes. H.E. Dr. Yuriy Sergeyev observed that the group this year was one of the best because the students were well-motivated, well-dedicated, and demonstrated that they had a good knowledge base. His part was merely to guide them and share his experience of 9 years at the UN and to highlight the actions that make the UN the main actor in global governance as well as the gaps in the management which are to be improved. Dr. Angel Angelov remarked that the sessions were perfectly organized despite the ongoing pandemic and mentioned that brainstorming with the students was fascinating.
A positive reaction was provided by the participants who expressed their appreciation for the programme. Participants remarked that they were impressed with the materials and presentations that were shared and were grateful for this great learning opportunity. It was also mentioned that the sessions were very interactive, engaging, and powerful. The design and implementation of the programme was also appreciated, and the participants expressed their willingness to encourage their peers and colleagues to join this program to learn and benefit the world.
In conclusion, Mr. Suazo encouraged the participants to utilize this learning experience in their future endeavors and to avail themselves of other learning opportunities on the UNITAR platform, while staying connected to the organization. He also mentioned that all students would receive electronic versions of the ‘Certificates of Completion’ and students could also request a hardcopy by mail. He ended the ceremony by expressing gratitude for getting to know the participants and inviting them for a cup of coffee in the UNITAR office whenever they were in town.