UNITED NATIONS, THE PLACE BEYOND ONE’S EXPECTATION

“ It will be a long uninteresting day for me. It was a day after Songkran long holidays break, why do I need to visit the place? Will it be important to my life,” said Prakin Chatteeraphat, writer of this article, after hearing about the trip to the United Nations.

The United Nations or UN is one of the famous organizations with the ambition to promote sustainability among all the countries for our beautiful world. Currently, there are around 193 member states all around the world which equal representation in the UN General Assembly. Among Thammasat University students especially BJM, Bachelor of Arts Programs in Journalism and Mass Media study, students, this organization and their goals should have already been in their mind whether with  intention or not because the basic courses for freshmen student of Thammasat, TU courses, have included the organization goal into the lesson in order to promote the sustainable way of living. Therefore, for those students who enjoy the TU lesson, this trip will be the dream come true for them. However, as a person who does not really into this particular lesson, I started to wonder how could this visitation be pleasurable.

It was 19th of April 2019, the day of the UN visiting trip. The sky was fully blue where the cloud was almost invisible. It seemed to be a beautiful day where you can clearly see the sun as you look up to the sky. Nevertheless, while I am walking toward to UN building, my shirt is partially wet. Without asking, I can notice right away which building is the UN building. In front of the building, there was cover by the UN and national flags which are beautifully flaunting in the wind.

United Nations Conference Centre
Picture Credit:  https://www.e-directoryditp.com/members/12/935/info

The very first thing that caught my attention is the security system of the place. Even though my lecturer, Mr. Bruce Avasadanond, had already informed the students that the security system will be treated as strict as the airport where the belongings, such as backpack and purse, will be x-rayed for checking the suspicious thing, but in the real situation the security system was even more strict.

“As I tried to enter the gate, the security guard suddenly showed his hand as the sign for me to stop. Then, he told me that the door for entering the building is the next one which the one I tried to enter is only for the vehicle,” mentioned Prakin Chatteeraphat with the face full of impression.

After entering the building, all my attention shipped from the security system immediately to the pieces of artwork that decorated and showed around the building.

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However, the security system continued to be strict as all the students need to receive the visitor name tag before relocated to the next floor which is where the canteen is located. After receiving the name tag, every student sticks it to their shirt as quick as possible in order to freely walk around the UN area as they arrived early.

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(Photo of me wearing the visitor tag) Picture Credit: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10211185144144762&set=a.10211184990820929&type=3&theater

Since the time I arrive is around lunchtime, the canteen was full of the UN staffs. As the canteen was organized in a similar way as the buffet restaurant, people were walking around to select and serve the food by themselves. However, it seemed to be crowned, but with a good manner among the staffs, they were able to manage to keep their voice down. As a visitor, I truly appreciate all of them because I can fully admire the place without any disturbance.

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When the appointment time has come, we needed to follow the woman in the black outfit, Tuenjai Chuabsamai who is our guide. Everyone gathered in front of the corridor of the second and staring at the ceiling. On the ceiling, it was a huge painting that seems to be carefully caved and painted with a patient. I remembered taking the picture the painting as the first activities when I arrived at the second because it was very charming and elegant.

“ The structure of the Universe was its given name because the UN was formed of many member states from many countries,” said Miss Tuenjai.

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We then moved to the third floor as our guide mentioned that it is where the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, UN ESCAP, hall. Many of the students including me were so excited and started to pull out the mobile phone for capturing all the impressive memories. The hall was very majestic with the United Nations logo in the middle which raises the feeling of praise as I was an influential or powerful person.

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“ There are 6 channels of languages which are translated into English, Chinese, Spanish, France, Russian and Arabic,” said Miss Tuenjai. “ All the seat will be provided with the microphone and white listen to select and listen to the translator.”

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It was finally the time for the lecture or the meeting with the United Nations staffs to learn basic knowledge of the UN and ESCAP.  The meeting was held in the Theatre room. Therefore, all the students need to move from the third floor back to the first floor where the Theatre room is located.

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On the first session of the lectures, the lecture was cover topic of the “General Introduction of UNESCAP.”

“The core mandates of the United Nations were to maintain international peace and security, to develop friendly relations among nations, to cooperate in solving international problems- economic, social, cultural, humanitarian and human rights, and to be center for harmonizing the actions of nations in attaining these common ends,” said the first lecturer, the UN libraries staff. “ Nowadays, the core mandate still works. Even though the international conflict is not as same as the last century while it shipped to the internal conflict of the culture and ethnicity, the United Nations still works and follows the core mandates.”

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(Photo of the first speaker) Picture Credit:  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10211184994341017&set=a.10211184990820929&type=3&theater

The video with the title “What is the United Nations?” was shown. It was an interesting way to present the basic knowledge of the United Nation because the information was presented in the form of music which made all the students looking straight to the front. In the video, it emphasizes the goal of the UN as “peace and dignity, and building up nation.”

Here is the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9l2W7Ikrp6Y

On the section session, the topic was cover on the “Sustainable Development Goals” of the United Nations. Arun Jacob, the Economist (Ph.D.), United Nations, was the speaker of this session.

Currently, there 17 sustainable development goal. Mr. Arun did not only describe the meaning of all the goal but also pointed out how the United Nation along with each nation have to work together to achieve the goal.

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( 17 Sustainable Development Goals) Picture credit: https://blog.geolsoc.org.uk/2018/12/10/geology-and-the-un-sustainable-development-goals/

There was also a statistic chart to show how far away the ESCAP of 2018 from each development goal. “The sad message is that we are not on track in term of any of sustainable development goals,” Mr. Arun pointed out the challenge the ESCAP is currently facing. In fact, three of the goal were moving in the opposite direction which are clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth, and responsible consumption and production”

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Then he added on how the ESCAP is trying to tackle the challenge and get all the stakeholders on board to address the challenge in order to move closer to the 2030 goal.

“As a structure of goal, we need to look at it together not one goal at a time,” said Mr. Arun. “Things can’t change only with policy. It is important to work with the stakeholder in order to ship their mindset.”

He added, “we need much more than finance to achieve the sustainable development goal.” “We need for example the technology to make a better life for the poor people.”

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Photo of Mr.Arun Jacob

On the last session, all the students are informed with the topics of internship and the career in the UN by the Human Resource staffs, Sinee Norrachetwuttiwaid and Anna-Lena Vinke. The experience is the most important factor that affects the UN selection of employee.

As one of the students, Shatree Suwanvaliakon, asked about the effect of GPA in term of employee selection of the UN. Miss Sinee answered, “ from my experience, no! We consider the degree and your relevance experience.”

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Photo of Miss Anna-Lena Vinke and Miss Sinee Norrachetwuutiwaid

To keep the students engage, there were many giveaway gifts from the staffs, such as the UN pins, the UN t-shirts, and the UN notebooks. Throughout all the visitation, I can notice the willingness of all the staffs to inform and guide all the student to their most satisfaction. Moreover, the awareness as the citizen has been planted to take a step to work together for our better wold.

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(Photo of Miss Tuenjai Chuabsamai) Picture Credit:  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10211185015781553&set=a.10211184990820929&type=3&theater

It was a valuable experience which I had received for the trip. I was very glad that I have a chance to come here. This might be goodbye for today, but I hope I will be back again. Thank you the United Nations and Mr.Bruce Avasadanond, my lecturer.

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