March 9, 2023
by Jaren McClure
The United Nations is a place that I only thought existed in dreams and movies, where people rigorously debate policy to change the world. That was my perception of the United Nations before I had the opportunity to experience it myself with United Families International. Some of those perceptions are true, meanwhile, some are quite overdramatic.
The true perceptions involved people’s passion and how rigorous they work towards talking about what they believe in. Everyone that is a participant in the United Nations is a real person with real goals and ultimately everyone has the same end goal. That goal is to improve the status of women and children in today’s society.
On my way here I was under the impression that I was going a little young fish in a big ocean, just trying to swim in the right direction and not get eaten by sharks. Keeping with the metaphor, I am not as small of a fish as I thought. I have the skills to be here and have earned my place. Then those so-called “sharks” I believed existed were not sharks at all, just friendly people who believed in the power of women and children. Sometimes we put a lot of fear into the unknown and label it as one-hundred percent bad before we even get to experience it.
My first day at the United Nations changed that perception quickly. From first entering the doors there are people talking with one another, catching up like old friends, and seeing how their lives are. Also, opposite my fears, I see people mingling with those they do not know and wish to know why they are at the United Nations. The opening meeting celebrating International Women’s Day was full of people from around the world that believed in the positive impact that women had in the world. This was a celebration of that gender’s impact on the world and a conversation on how to improve their impact further.
Parallel events are a prime example of this idea, there are so many different ideas and takes on issues that these types of events encapsulate them. People with passion and a voice ask for a small amount of persons time to listen to what they have to say about an issue. Isn’t that amazing? I get to rub elbows with people who make real changes in the world and learn from those who see this same world differently.
So yes, these are very different waters for the fish that I am, however, I am not a tiny fish that can’t make any changes. I am just a regular fish in different waters, and I need to learn how best to change the world.
Jaren is a student at Brigham Young University – Idaho and attending the Commission on the Status of Women with United Families International.