Before graduating with my MA, I had every intention on finding myself a place in the UNHCR (UN High Commission for Refugees). I always felt that I was meant to serve as a global citizen for change. I felt that my soul was called upon to speak on behalf of those with a loud ever-present, resounding, outcry; but with few ears ready and waiting to hear their stories – their pain, their suffering, their victories, their voices.
So, I have long been an active person. I have long advocated for those whose livelihood has been negatively affected by the unjust socio-economic issues of our world. The UNHCR was my venue, or so I thought.
After I graduated, I worked with the membership/sponsorship relations team for the Clinton Global Initiative – President Clinton’s NGO. I thought this might be my way to understand more closely some of the issues I was unaware of, but to also gain insight on how an international NGO operates. This was exactly what I learned… and then some.
I met, worked with closely, and grew to love/appreciate a gentleman who not only led the Sponsorship division all by his lonesome, but also was a former employee of the World Economic Forum and the United Nations. Having spent several years with both of them, he was quite opinionated and well versed on both entities. He enlightened me to the common practices and the bureaucracy of the United Nations, and if I truly want to make a change the UN may not be the most efficient means to do so. This was disheartening to say the least, but I appreciated his insight and respected his opinion.
After, because I have a knack for needing to find out these types of things for myself, I volunteered with the UN during their commission on the status of women summit. I worked, managed, moderated, and organized at their NYC headquarters and was chock full of questions during the entire 6 month experience, leading up to the summit. This was a great opportunity, but also it made me less interested in obtaining a working relationship with them.
I still love the UN and the work that they do, I just now understand more fully that the work that is most important (to me), is the work that is completed on the ground floor. It is the united front that begins on the molecular level that can then call for action above. It is the unification of the people on one cause and one solution that is the catalyst for change. If we can organize our individual selves, then and only then can the “unit” mobilize itself to enacting change. It is far more difficult, as history has dictated time and time again, to take a top down approach because the trickle down theory is just that. A theory. It doesn’t work. Grassroots action does work. Mobilization of the people is actualization of theory, concept to manifestation.
I appreciate him (J.J.) for his insight. I appreciate the opportunities I have had in my life. I love where I am mentally, emotionally, physically and I am “active” in enacting a more promising tomorrow.