Exploring the United Nations

A huge part of my current gig involves going to conferences and events to spread the word and help grow the organization I run.  Many of those conferences take place in NY, and many of those that take place in NY are in the tourist-infested, high priced, low value drabby hotels in Midtown (usually Times Square).  Beige hallways, no windows, $8 coffee.

This past week I had the opportunity to attend the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation forum in the UN’s General Assembly.  I’ve seen the space on CSPAN and in pictures, but I wasn’t prepared for how majestic it was in person.

It was a day with another enormous (March) snowstorm in NYC, and between trudging through my commute and going through the TSA-like security to get into the building, I wasn’t all that excited to be there when I arrived.  That quickly changed.

After a quick stop in the bathroom full of UNIS students to change from the golashes-wearing wet rat that I was when I arrived to a more appropriate skirt suit and heels, I started walking through the halls.  They were filled with beautiful artwork and mosaics of world leaders and symbols of peace.  It took me awhile to get through.

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And then came the General Assembly.  The room was enormous, with mics at every seat that diplomats over the decades have used.  At the center was a familiar podium where Ban Ki-Moon has spoken as recently as last week.  And it was filling with (mostly) women who had come to discuss how to create opportunity for young women and girls — both in the States and globally.  This was my jam.

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It was an inspiring day of speakers and discussions, made more powerful from being in the building — and the actual room — where real change has been sparked.  Definitely worth trudging through the snow.  And I feel a little bit more like a real New Yorker having seen inside.

Although I did get a kick out of the outside as well — particularly the UN’s well known globe, that was much more covered in snow on the way out than it was when it greeted me earlier that morning.

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