Professor John Mathiason on working for the United Nations

Professor John Mathiason gave Wycombe Abbey’s Model United Nations (MUN) team an insider’s view on the workings of the United Nations (UN) during a Skype session on Wednesday evening.

The esteemed academician, a professor at the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs at Cornell University, drew from his 25-year career on the UN Secretariat to deliver an anecdote-filled insight into the true workings of the international organisation.

Conversation ranged from the ratification of major human rights treaties to the influence of non-governmental organisations on diplomatic decision making. Professor Mathiason described the negotiation process at diplomatic summits, highlighting the importance of accurate data in persuading Member States to support proposals.

The former UN Deputy Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women focused on the prominent issue of the unequal representation of women in government and politics. He pointed out that the Caribbean is the region where women hold the highest proportion of senior government roles.

Towards the end of the session, conversation shifted to the skills required to work for the UN. Professor Mathiason stressed the importance of language skills, voluntary work and field experience. He stressed the role of motivated and talented people in solving global challenges.

Professor John Mathiason gave a fascinating account of what it is like to work for the United Nations and the realities of work in the development field. His insights into the real workings of international diplomacy will serve the MUN team well at future conferences.

Bunny, LVI