Location: Campus Rodrigo Carazo, San José Costa, Rica.
The United Nations-mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) joined the global celebration of United Nations Day with a communal breakfast potluck organized by the students.
On 24 October, 1945, the UN charter was ratified by China, France, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, United States and a majority of other signatories.
In his formal message on the 67th anniversary, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described United Nations Day as “a chance to recognize how much this invaluable Organization contributes to peace and common progress. It is a time to reflect on what more we can do to realize our vision for a better world.”
Dr. Francisco Rojas Aravena invited the students to share their views about the UN and its impact on their countries and reiterated the importance of the mandate of UPEACE within the general efforts of the UN to promote peace and security.
Saadia Benmakhlouf, a graduate student of International Law and Human Rights (2011), shared her experience working with Syrian refugees for four years with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
“We have several reasons to be critical of the UN as an agency and to claim for a better system, more representative and democratic. However, the change has to come from within and we are the ones who can work together to reform it. If we are dedicated in our work, if we perform our tasks with conscious integrity and love, we will lead this change” said Saadia.
“I have worked with the UNHCR in Morocco for the past four years and I can tell from my experience that this agency can make a difference in people's lives. For having witnessed atrocities, human suffering and despair in some emergency deployments -namely in Tunisia and Lebanon, I can testify that the UNHCR's contribution is highly needed and valued in today's world. The staff are working relentlessly with the displaced and refugee populations around the world to make their lives better, namely through the search of durable solutions and protection.”
Monica Paniagua, UPEACE Alumna from the MA in International Peace Studies and staff member of UPEACE shared her experience working as a protection officer for an emergency response team in South Sudan at UNHCR, saying:
"What I learned working in the field is that regardless what you are doing, where you are coming from or who you are working with, it is motivation, willingness, courage and determination what would make a difference."
Mariela Solís Chaves