UN Information Center director speaks on campus

The Tech chapter of the Roosevelt Institute, a national student-run policy organization, kicked off the first of a planned series of lectures by hosting Will Davis, Director of the United Nations (UN) Information Center in Washington, D.C.

Co-hosted with the Georgia Tech Student Foundation and Diversity programs, the event took place on Thursday, Feb. 25 and was a part of the Think International Series. The event featured topics ranging from the UN security council to nuclear proliferation.

“Our goal for this event is to help raise awareness in our leaders, such as you students at Tech. Lack of awareness is what sometimes lead to suffering around the world so I want you as student leaders to take this [awareness] from the event and multiply this awareness around the world,” Agarwal said before turning the floor to associate vice-president of Communications and Marketing Jim Fetig to intrdoduce the speaker.

“I spent 28 years in the US military around the world. I’ve traveled to 26 different countries. I’ve been involved in humanitarian operations as well as others. I ended my career as the spokesperson for the national Security Council where I worked with Mr. Davis, so our paths have crossed,” Fetig said.

Davis then took the podium and began his lecture with an initial focus on the US and China. However, the emphasis shifted onto the affairs of the UN, its strengths and weaknesses and the roles of its constituent nations.

“The problems faced in an ever globalizing world are no longer the kind where you can bomb or buy your way out of,” Davis said. “You are going to be engineers and studying the technical aspect of things so you can understand problems are just not going to be solved without fundamental cooperation.”

After Davis delivered his opening remarks, Fetig steered the lecture into the aforementioned discussion points and the UN’s role in them all. A question and answer session was held afterwards with the audience including topics on how students can find employment with the UN amongst others.

“The UN makes it incredibly hard to get a job at the United Nations. We get applications in the thousands for entry level positions. The issues we’re grappling with require real skills,” Davis said, “We need engineers to build sanitation systems, we need medical officers, we need agricultural specialists…Get a practical degree, get yourself experience, learn another language, join the Peace Corps. Even if you can’t get in right away, work for a non-governmental organization that is in the orbit of the UN mission.”

The event ended on a more informal note with students speaking with the UN director following the question and answer session.

In addition to Davis, the Roosevelt Institute and its members plan on bringing more promiment speakers to campus for engagements; however, all of these future events are still in the planning stages.

“We started planning last semester around Sept. and Oct. and we’re planning a series of lectures like this. This is the first one,” said Preety Bhardwaj, Marketing Director of the Institute. “We haven’t talked about the second one yet.”