Day six: What’s it like inside a UN Mission?
The streets surrounding the UN in New York are lined with quaint brownstone-type houses that are the office to many a country’s mission to the UN. The first thing that alerts you that you’re getting close to a UN mission (besides the big black town cars usually parked along the streets) is a country flag suspended high above the door. Some missions are elegantly appointed with fine rugs, furniture and art work while other offices are much more modest and unassuming. But one thing is always consistent, visitors are graciously received and appropriate decorum is always observed.
One of the preferred activities for UFI representatives in New York is to do “Mission Visits.” Setting up an appointment is challenging; it requires numerous faxes to request an appointment and what seems to be endless follow-up phone calls to schedule. But when you’re successful; the visit is always delightful!
UFI representatives go with the purpose of becoming acquainted with the diplomats, to ascertain their needs, to offer help and to see how willing the country’s diplomats and negotiators are to support a pro-life/pro-family position. We deliver a copy of our UN Negotiating Guide in both print and CD. The Negotiating Guide makes a wonderful and actually quite impressive gift. It’s a gift that can help the mission as well as help pro-family work at the UN and it’s always well received.
We had a most interesting experience at the Mission of Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone has suffered through many years of civil war with horrific stories of child soldiers and mutilation. But their country is finally at peace and working to rebuild. The Deputy Permanent Representative was quick to share with us his country’s desire to “re-brand” Sierra Leone as a politically stable country with much to offer both in natural resources and opportunities for tourism and business. We told him we would be happy to pass that information on. Sierra Leone is very “pro-family” and works well with the G-77 (African nations) on supporting pro-life and pro-family language in all of the UN documents. We were honored that the diplomats would contribute a story of UFI’s visit to the main news service in Sierra Leone. See the news story of our visit here.
The Permanent Mission of Zambia to the United Nations was also visited this trip. Their diplomats spent a good deal of time with UFI representatives. They wanted us to know that they are a “Christian Nation” dedicated to religious values and principles. In fact it is written into their constitution. The Deputy Permanent Representative stated “it is a declaration of what people should look to. Religion produces positive things for a country.” They spoke of the importance of family and how the traditional role of women is revered in their country. We certainly agreed!
The Permanent Mission of Ghana to the UN was very willing to meet with us and to make sure that we would be put in contact with their country’s diplomats to the “Third Committee.” We welcomed that opportunity. They were so excited about the Negotiating Guide, they asked for three copies!
Without the help of the African Nations – most of them extremely pro-life and pro-family – our effort to protect the family would be almost impossible. We express great gratitude to them all. One diplomat spoke of the challenges that Africa faces – many families live on less than $1 a day. But he assured us that his people are happy none the less. He concluded: “God lives with us in Africa….He provides…”