A Day at the United Nations

Sculpture memorializing the Middle Passage @ the United Nations - Manhattan-20120529

Sculpture memorializing the Middle Passage @ the United Nations – Manhattan-20120529

A Day @ the United Nations – Denise Valentine – Picasa Web Albums.

Ever have one of those days when you ask yourself, “Wait, did that just happen?” Did I really get a call from Ms. Philomena Ama Nimley, of The Institute for Conscious Global Change, inviting me to attend the 3rd preparatory committee meeting on the UN conference on sustainable development at the United Nations?

Without thinking, or bothering to check my schedule, I responded, “Yes, of course.” “Bring your laptop,” she said. So, on the morning of May 29 (which just happened to be the International Day of UN Peacekeepers) I boarded a train to New York. I pinched myself as a sat in the Afghan Women’s Network meeting on Women’s Security and Transition in Afghanistan. And again, as I waited for Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon to address the conference on sustainable development. I sat next to Mr. Lucas Assunção (UNCTAD) as I listened to representatives of the Holy See, Bulgaria, Canada and the United States voice their approval, objections and revisions to the policy statements on water and energy.  “Add this phrase…, delete that paragraph.” Though it all seemed very noble, I couldn’t help wondering how many children would die that day because they lacked safe and clean water while we debated and deliberated about policy statements.

3900 children die everyday because of dirty water or poor hygiene. (WHO 2004)

I was stirred by an exhibit on display in the Main Gallery of the Visitors’ Lobby commemorating International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The exhibition “Honouring the Heroes, Resisters and Survivors,” which opened on March 27th, includes images, original documents, historical illustrated newspapers, artifacts, maps and radio interviews. You can view webcasts of the commemorative concert, NGO briefing, and Global Student Videoconference on the UN website.


International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. “Honouring the Heroes, Resisters and Survivors” Click the Photo to see Slide Show

Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 20-22, 2012. The issues being discussed at this preparatory meeting could have profound implications for our future on this planet.

I asked myself, “Why am I here with diplomats and scholars?” What can I, a storyteller, do to help realize the goals of peace, justice and security?

“A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, can even enable a change in the destiny of all humankind.”

Daisaku Ikeda, The Human Revolution

Denise Valentine wPortrait of Kofi Annan-20120529

Denise Valentine w/Portrait of Kofi Annan-20120529

Then, suddenly, I understood. I determined that my role is to listen, absorb, and translate these shared goals into words that everyday people, like me, can understand and relate to. My mission is to transform these ideas  into stories that will touch people’s hearts and encourage them to act. Stories like this:

Video: The Story of Who Owns the Land

There are not two lands, pure and impure, the difference lies solely in the hearts of the people. —Nichiren Daishonin

No matter how many resolutions or laws are passed by our policy makers, true peace and security can only come about through a change in the hearts, minds and will of the people.

All life is bound in one; so if you touch a fiber of a living thing you send a thrill from the center to the outer bounds of life.

The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ

About Storymama01

Professional Storyteller, Blogger, Teaching Folk Artist, Cultural Curator, Consultant, History Lover, Humanist
This entry was posted in arts and culture, culture and politics, exploration and conquest, history, humanities, Public History and Memory, storytelling and folklore and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Day at the United Nations

  1. Pingback: Century of African Youth | storymama01

  2. Michelle says:

    “The Story of Who Owns the Land”…moving and powerful; thought-provoking wisdom with lesson. Thank you Denise for sharing.

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