Steve's central role in South Korean disarmament conference
As a Junior Professional Consultant (JPC) with the United Nations Association in Canada’s (UNA-Canada) International Development & Diplomacy Internship Programme (IDDIP), I was placed with the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD), in Bangkok, Thailand. From 7-8 December, I had the opportunity of attending the 14th Republic of Korea/ United Nations Joint Conference on Disarmament and Non-proliferation Issues in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The conference was attended by numerous government officials, intergovernmental organizations, policy institutes, non-government organizations and members of academia.
This year’s Conference, themed "Unfinished Business of Building a More Secure World" focused on the evolving threat of nuclear conflict on the Korean Peninsula, the challenge of ensuring a secure environment for outer space activities, and the prospects for building an enduring nuclear security architecture in the post-Nuclear Security Summit era. Participation from key high-level persons such as the Acting High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, the Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, and the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization provided impetus for the discussions.
As for my role in relation to the Conference, I was responsible for identifying and inviting experts, organizing and coordinating the flight schedule and hotel bookings, and preparing various communication materials. I also acted as the onsite UN contact for all of the logistical needs of the participants and high-level attendees.
I also had the opportunity to meet and assist the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and Under-Secretary General of the UN, Mr Kim. Won-Soo. Outside of Conference hours I was able to have some excellent discussions with him about our organization. He shared his amazing UN experiences with me, while I also shared my experience and work as a Junior Professional Consultant. It was an honorable and life changing experience.
My contributions to the Conference were much appreciated, and were recognized by Mr Kim, when he personally thanked and acknowledged my efforts at a formal dinner attended by experts and high-level guests from various embassies in Seoul. At the end of conference I was able to make a considerable number of connections from established professionals in the industry. Now that I am back at the office in Bangkok, I'm responsible for writing the final report of the Conference, which when completed will be published by the Republic of Korea and UNODA.
All in all, it was an experience I will never forget, and I am ready to do whatever it takes to make a career out of this placement. I am grateful for the opportunity that UNAC’s IDDIP has provided me, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in becoming a global professional.