1801 United Nations Reflection
4:45 AM – When the alarm suddenly shook me out of sleep I knew it was time. Today our internship group would pick up our United Nations badges. Upon eating breakfast and wearing our Sunday best, we were out the door by 6:25 AM to catch the number eight Bus OMS to Palais des Nations. Our group got off the Appia stop and walked towards the UN building, prepared to go through security. Luckily there was not one person in sight – just us. It was a miracle!
I was holding my badge in front of me – a most precious identity. The Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice (IIMA) Human Rights Office, which is a part of ECOSOC (The United Nations ECOnomic and SOCial Council), had entrusted me with the great task to help represent its organization as an intern. For the last two years I worked with the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco, Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice (FMA), who founded the institute and its lay missionary organization, Voluntariato Internazionale Donna Eduazione Sviluppo (VIDES), to promote and defend the rights of women and children through education. Now, here I am, again, hundreds of miles away from home continuing to share their mission commitment. This time I am at the heart of their mission to help bring witness to why we are at the UN, which is to promote a world where young people may realize their full potential.
Why me? What would I be able to share?
This time was different. I did not have any experience working with human rights issues. Not to mention, I did not speak French, Spanish, or Italian, which is essential for this internship.
As we walked from room to room within the United Nations, I began to imagine the long hours and effort each country must have put into each of these rooms as they discussed. In a few days, I would have the chance to attend the 37th Regular Session for the Human Rights Council. So many nations. So many ideas. So many faces.
Inside the place where change happened, I felt even smaller. I had come to Geneva with uncertainty and without much faith in my abilities to be a voice for change, yet, here was a great opportunity to grow and learn. The UN is impressive, but what was even more impressive was seeing how the IIMA organization had so much trust in its young people to allow them to be the very face of their institute. They were educating their young people to advocate for their own rights. I may have felt small, but through humility and God’s grace, I achieved many things I did not think were possible. How certainly blessed I am!