EuroMUN: Blue Helmets and Black Ties – UN(iformity)?

Interview with Frederic Bordon and Christophe Verhellen
by Sofiya Gaydardzhieva and Zoë Perry

The United Nations is not about uniforms or uniformity in general. The two gentleman we had the pleasure of interviewing today, both representatives of  the UN Regional Center for Western Europe (UNRIC), seemed to portray that image by showing up in casual attire among young MUN’ers, all impeccable in suits and polished shoes.  Mr. Christophe Verhellen, the UNRIC Communication Officer for the Benelux and his team assistant, Mr. Frederik Bordon, were all about crushing the stereotypes attached to the work of the United Nations- blue helmets, black ties, incessant talks and stacks of paperwork.

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Mr. Verhallen, who has been in for the EuroMUN two years ago already, knows the concerns of young people wishing to engage in work for the United Nations – the intimidating belief that you, as a young student, have to be a graduate student of  International Relations, sport a minimum of  5-10 years experience in humanitarian work, pride in some voluntary projects and at best be at some point the organizer of a MUN in order to be merely considered for a position at the world’s largest international organization.

This is as far-fetched as saying that all people who work for the UN wear suits and black ties, which they substitute for blue helmets when on peacemaking- duty.

In fact, part of Mr. Verhellen’s and Mr.Bordon’s mission is to mingle among UN’ers-to-be and tell them what the UN is really all about, namely diversity. Furthermore, they educate UN skeptics about the variety of activities undertaken within UN’s world-wide mandate and encourage young people to take action.  There are no shortcuts towards a career with the United Nations, but there are many entry points for those who are eager to make a difference. In order to be self-sustaining, the UN requires pilots and doctors as much as lawyers and economists, according to Mr. Verhellen who was really happy seeing so many young people eager to discuss world-wide issues of significance during the upcoming 4 days. Mr. Verhellen himself is a TV Director, while Mr. Bordon majored in Languages and Communications. Isn’t this reassuring for all those of us who still doubt whether we fit in the UN profile?

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