On March 29 and 30, visiting Professor and Armenian Ambassador Armen Baibourtian led 27 Political Science students on a tour of the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York City. The trip allowed students to connect their studies at UMass with the outside world and gain insight on the different routes their future endeavors may take. It is the third time in the past several years that Ambassador Baibourtian has been able to supplement his classwork with a field trip of this kind.
The students began their day meeting with the permanent representative from Armenia to the UN, Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanian. Mnatsakanian spoke on UN priorities like security, reaching millennium development goals, and human rights. He addressed current initiatives to improve genocide prevention policies for current and future crises in the international community. He also discussed his career as a civil servant, and the need of UN member states to find a common denominator to foster sustainable cooperation and compromise.
Many students were able to envision diplomatic careers after meeting with the ambassador: “it was very exciting to be able to hear about the top priority issues being discussed as well as gain insights on the daily inner workings of the UN,” said sophomore Corinne Curtis.
The students then met with John Ericson, who works in the Outreach Unit of Human Resources. He gave a presentation on the various career paths at the UN and provided tips on how UMass students can start careers in international civil service.
Later, the students met with Director of the UN Security Council Affairs Division, Ambassador Movses Abelian. He spoke about Security Council reform debate and how the Security Council deals with threats to international peace and security.
The students also toured the Economic and Social Council Chamber and viewed artwork displayed from around the globe. “Seeing the actual place where policy is created and implemented really made what we study tangible,” reported sophomore Camille Liederman.
Professor Baibourtian was pleased with yet another successful tour of the UN, “it enabled my PoliSci students to gain an insight into the UN as the world’s most representative international organization,” said Baibourtian. “Walking through its corridors and having discussions in the UN meeting rooms with some of its key actors opened up a realistic perspective of the UN's working environment and its decision-making process.”
The day ended with an alumni reception organized by UMass alumna Jan Feuerstadt at Mercury LLC in the World Trade Center. There, students met with UMass alumni who now work in law, policy, and public relations, among other fields. Students were able to get career advice as well envision their futures after UMass.
“As a senior, it was a great opportunity to hear how former UMass students went about achieving their career goals and comforting became successful while pursuing various career paths,” said Alexander Dumanis.
The trip was made possible through the generosity of donors to the new Minutefund crowd-funding initiative and sponsored by the Department of Political Science.
-- Shea Kelly '17
- Student News