AMHERST, Mass.—For the second year in a row, University of Massachusetts Amherst Professor and Ambassador Armen Baibourtian hosted a group of students at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, the school’s political science department reports.
“For many of us this was the first time visiting the United Nations,” says Shea Kelly. “With Professor Baibourtian’s first-hand experience working in the UN alongside meetings we were offered an insider’s perspective.”
Students started their day with a tour through the outside garden of the UN, where gifts from various members of the United Nations are displayed. “We saw fascinating pieces, including part of the fallen Berlin Wall, a sculpture gifted by The Soviet Union, and a Japanese Peace Bell,” reports Kelly.
Professor Baibourtian arranged meetings with Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanian, the permanent Representative of Armenia to the UN and with John Ericson, from the Office of Human Resources Management.
Ambassador Mnatsakanian spoke of some of the most prioritized initiatives of the General Assembly in the coming years such as disarmament, peace and security, and development and human rights. He also discussed the unique and difficult position the UN holds, as they have 193 member states that must work to structure a common solution to global events.
Ericson explained the many career paths and employment options in the UN.
The last meeting of the day was with Ambassador Movses Abelian, who is Director of the UN Security Council Affairs Division. He discussed the importance of the Security Council in regards to sanctions and addressing threats to international peace and security and gave students his perspective on debates to make the composition of the Security Council more inclusive, a much deliberated topic within the UN.
Students also toured the UN General Assembly Hall and the UN Security Council Military Staff Committee room.
“Throughout this visit, we were shown the diverse challenges facing the global community and the multi-faceted approach the UN takes to combat these challenges,” says Kelly. “In talking with the Ambassadors, we were also able to gain a sense of how everyday affairs work in the UN. This trip was a great opportunity for us to see the dynamic nature of the UN and inspired those of us who hope to work in international relations.”