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31 Sophia Students Gain First-hand Global Experience at United Nations Headquarters in New York

Group Photo on the terrace of UN Headquarters

31 students from 9 Departments of the University participated in the Third UN Studies Program (February 11-19), gaining first-hand global experience at United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

The program kicked off with the guided tours of UN Headquarters, followed by meetings with Ambassador Yoshifumi Okamura, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations and Mr. Yukio Takasu, Under-Secretary-General for Management in the UN Secretariat.

Tour of UN Headquarters

The students then received a series of briefings from UN officials and the officials of UN Specialized Agencies and Programs, gaining invaluable insight into the work of the United Nations, ranging from mediation, peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and disarmament to assisting refugees and displaced persons, promoting human rights, improving the quality of education and health of children, and implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Kaoru Negishi, 4th year student with the Department of German Language and Literature, commented on her experience: “I am interested in International Politics. I participated in the program to deepen my knowledge of the United Nations. Having had the opportunity to listen to the briefings from various staff members of the UN, I am now interested in many areas in which I wasn’t interested initially.” Echoing a similar tone, Tomonori Ochiai, 1st year student with the Faculty of Global studies, whose sister participated in this program two years ago, said: “Having listened to the in-depth briefing by a UN staff who is actually involved in SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), the theme in which I was interested became familiar more than ever. This was an eye-opening experience for me. I now want to learn more, not just the field I am interested in.”

Briefing by a UN official

The students met with 18 Sophia alumni from the New York Sophia-Kai over dinner. The alumni gave inspiring talk on their careers and experiences. The students also had an opportunity to listen to the talk by former Director-General of UNESCO Koichiro Matsuura at an event held at Columbia University. This UN studies program is organized by Professor Yasuhiro Ueki of the Faculty of Global Studies who worked for the United Nations in various capacities prior to taking up his current academic post.

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