An impressive statue of St. George fighting the war dragon welcomes guests and diplomats into one of the main UN buildings. Entitled “Good Defeats Evil”, it was a gift from the Soviet Union to the UN in 1990, and incorporates sections of American and Russian missiles banned through the first international treaty aimed at controlling nuclear weapons, signed in 1987 between the US and the USSR. It stands not only as a symbol of UN’s role in preventing one of the deadliest potential disasters of our time, but also as a reminder of the organization’s mission and core values.
As an outsider, my perception of the UN, as the pearl in the much-praised, much-criticized crown of international organizations echoed the spirit of the above-mentioned statue and, upon first setting foot on the international territory of the UN headquarters in New York, I found my childish thoughts confirmed by the sight of it. The UN, for me, as for millions of people, embodied a real-life representation of an almost omnipotent St. George, endowed with all the powers of trans-border cooperation and socio-political solidarity, wielding the victorious sword again the ever-present monster of violence.
Certainly, as a student of political science and informed citizen of an increasingly globalized world, I had repeatedly found my perception challenged, in both the academic and professional sphere. Furthermore, I felt uncertain about our country’s influence and impact, if any, on the UN itself and its workings. My internship with the Romanian Permanent Mission at the UN in the summer of 2011 sought to answer both concerns, while addressing a third, regarding my own career choices. The seven weeks I spent running between 38 and 3rd, and 45th and 1st, became crossed-out sections of my calendar faster than I could have imagined, proving that time does indeed fly when you’re having fun, and elicited more questions than I had brought with me, challenging the superior importance often awarded to answers in life, and in school. I learnt a great deal about the UN, the world and Romania’s place in it, about diplomacy, and even about myself. I was given the overwhelming privilege of being part, even for a short term, of an elite team of dedicated and resourceful fellow Romanians, and experienced first-hand the camaraderie of collaborative work of prime importance. It is to the People (as their collective name truly deserves to be capitalized) from the Romanian Permanent Mission that my gratitude ultimately goes. I will cherish the memory of their generosity and unbending support forever, and their example of professionalism, flexibility, infinite patience and much-welcomed clarity will continue to shape my activity for years to come.
As for the UN itself, the variety of tasks my internship entailed, and the invaluable contacts this opportunity has afforded have proven that, although hardly the omnipotent knight in shining armor, the organization and its dedicated supporters remain a beacon of hope in the direction of peacekeeping and the guaranteeing of human rights, and an eloquent example of the impacts both the success of international cooperation, and its failure, can have on our world. If nothing else, the UN continues to speak to and on behalf of the people of the world, and I have been remarkably lucky to contribute, even if only for a moment, to the Romanian voice in this multicultural, but ever-so-necessary forum of debate. Perhaps not coincidentally, the UN motto (written by Iranian poet Saadi and gracing the entrance to the Hall of Nations) echoes that of its hosting country: where the US suggests the image of the melting pot through its “e pluribus unum”, the UN answers with its eloquent reminder of the oneness of mankind: “The sons of Adam are limbs of each other/Created of one essence/When calamity affects one limb/The other limbs cannot remain at rest.” In other words, to the American “out of many, one”, the international “for one, many”, or, if we refer strictly to the UN, ”for many, one”.
07/24/15On the 24th July 2015, as chair of the Regional East-European Group, Romania delivered a statement at the informal session of the UN General Assembly, organized on the occasion of the Nelson…