Monday, December 23, 2013

A Final Report

The view from the 92 Y as
residents moved out.
The Oxy at the UN Program’s abrupt end left participants to pack up their bags in a dazed whirlwind last weekend and depart the city that’s been home for three and a half months. Saturday was a stunning snowglobe of a day as Manhattan was doused in fresh snowfall; unfortunately this also meant that participants’ travel plans were slightly reconfigured.

Our first night on the Oxy at the UN Program, Professor Fomerand told us that this program changes individuals and that upon leaving, we would be very different people than when we'd arrived. Fifteen weeks later, we find ourselves looking back at who we were and looking forward at the semester before us and the lifetime that comes afterward. So the questions are, how to conclude this whirlwind experience, how to pack up the metaphorical suitcase with the collective and individual lessons we've learned, and how we move forward having had a semester at the United Nations in New York City.

The sunset from the UN Secretariat on
the participants' last day.
At the end-of-program dinner reception, Professor Gardner asked the group, “where do your feet stand?” This semester, Oxy at the UN Participants have stood in the White House, the General Assembly, the Security Council, and countless other significant places. We have literally walked in the footsteps of individuals such as Ban Ki Moon, Desmond Tutu, Samantha Power, Hillary Clinton, Malala Yousafzi, and all manner of world leaders, movers and shakers, and steadfast do-gooders. These sixteen pairs of feet have commuted day in and out to perform meaningful work in the service of the international system. However difficult, tiring, trying, and wearing these days may have been, they were absolutely also the most rewarding and empowering. We arrived sixteen fresh-faced, eager and curious student-interns, and we leave sixteen determined young professionals who are more confident in our abilities to take on difficult tasks. One thing this semester elucidated was the value of the “Oxy lens”, that is, the distinct and nuanced perspective of students who exemplify Occidental College. Oxy students across the board have a trained eye for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of a policy, a team, or a practice and taking that knowledge to strengthen and develop the issue. The Oxy at the UN Program shows students that their passions can catalyze their academic and professional strengths to make meaningful contributions to critical issues.

It is on this note that the Oxy at the UN Program 2013 draws to a close and expresses its final appreciations to friends, family, professors, colleagues, and mentors for their ongoing support and encouragement. Program participants were proud to represent Occidental College throughout the semester; wherever we disperse to and in whatever capacities, we will always be connected by this experience. 

Week Fourteen and a half (December 1 - 12)

As our readers will have noticed, the last two installments of the Oxy at the UN newsletter will break from the traditional weekly update. Week 14 1/2 will account for the final academic and professional efforts of the participants; while, Week 15's newsletter will wrap up the program and semester. Though they're reeling in shock at the speed with which the program is ending, Oxy at the UN participants seem determined to finish strong.

Oxy at the UN Participants and their professors were the honored guests at the home of Bill and Elizabeth Ann Kahane Tuesday night (Dec. 3) in celebration of the program. Mr. Kahane, himself an Oxy graduate, and his wife are enthusiastic supporters of the program. You can read more about his and Elizabeth's dedication to the program’s success on Oxy’s website. The Kahanes’ warmth and ease made participants feel at home, and it was clear that this UN Program community extends far beyond the sixteen participants. Without the support and encouragement from the Kahanes and others, this program would surely not be as dynamic, stimulating, and empowering as it is. The Kahanes’ stunning West Side apartment overlooks Central Park, and we ended the evening by taking in the lights and sounds of Manhattan from the building’s roof (see above).

In its last two weeks, the Oxy at the UN Program saw four outstanding guests in class. First, Oxy at the UN hosted the distinguished Alain Seckler, who spoke with us on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Mr. Seckler currently serves in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations on the Great Lakes Region Integrated Operational Team on MONUSCO, the peacekeeping mission currently active in eastern DRC. The mission's mandate focuses on the root causes of conflict and on creating the space and imperative for all parties to the conflict to participate in a political solution. MONUSCO has broken new ground in peacekeeping by the introduction of its Force Intervention Brigade (FIB), which provides military and logistical support to the national army in combatting armed groups. Both controversial and lauded, the FIB is at the center of discourse on the future of peacekeeping missions and on the resolution of conflict and human suffering in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mr. Seckler called the DRC "Africa's best hope for the future," referencing its natural resource wealth and potential for energy development. It was clear in our discussion with him that a lasting solution must address the root causes of conflict and enable the people of the DRC to exercise agency in security reform and development.

Next, Suki Beavers spoke about the gendered dimensions of resource extraction, elections, and corruption as well as engaged us in a passionate discussion about the complexities in confronting gender norms in the twenty-first century. Ms. Beavers insisted, and to much consent from Oxy at the UN participants, that men and boys must participate in discussions on gender and rights as well as efforts to confront gender-based violence. The issue is certainly one that has woven in and out of our discussions and analyses throughout the semester and will continue to cause us to question gendered dynamics and roles in international relations.

We also heard from Andrea Canepa, who had just returned from the Syrian-Jordan border where she was conducting fieldwork with the ICRC. Andrea spoke with us about the complexities of working in close proximity to a conflict zone and the dynamic relationship of an organization like the ICRC with the UN system. 

Last but certainly not least, we hosted was a familiar face for Gillian Harger (Guatemalan Mission); her colleague Jimena Roesch conducted a negotiation skills workshop with program participants. Though many of us have had the opportunity throughout the semester to observe or engage in negotiations in our various capacities at work, the workshop provided the opportunity for us to analyze and develop some of the skills sophisticated negotiation takes. Though, participants don’t often get the chance to deepen this type of knowledge, it was a welcome opportunity to build a professional skillset.

Be sure to check out our "Sights and Sounds" and "What's Cooking" pages for a look at how the Oxy at the UN participants wrapped up the program in the last couple of weeks!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Week Thirteen, November 24 - 30

The sun sets on November (and the Atlantic).

The Oxy at the UN Program concluded November with a half-week (participants got off work and classes for Thursday and Friday) that was chockfull with enriching discussions and empowering work in internships. The holiday allowed participants to put in some quality time on their end-of-term research papers and policy briefs as well as explore the late-fall, early-winter festivities in New York City.

Our discussion in Conflict Prevention this week considered the UN Peace Building Commission, created in 2005, which attempts to coordinate post-conflict peacebuilding efforts. While peacekeeping focuses on the stabilization of an insecure area and the implementation of peace agreements, peace building targets the medium to longer term measures that will ensure a country does not fall back into conflict. This involves a diversity of groups including financial investors, development experts, civil society organizations and NGOs, politicians and government officials, and security sectors. The Peace Building Commission provides a forum and mechanism for comprehensive peace creation in a cohesive framework. Most significantly, peace building efforts intend to address systemic, structural, and root causes of conflict. Though the Commission is young, it has achieved moderate success in managing transitions from conflict, to peacekeeping, to post-conflict, to peace building.

Wednesday found Oxy at the UN participants conducting their final case study in Human Development: disaster risk reduction in Bangladesh. Geographically and geologically, Bangladesh is prone to natural disasters like earthquakes, landslides, and cyclones. It was in this context that we discussed how a country develops its crisis response, particularly a poor one such as Bangladesh, and its ability to absorb 'shocks' to stability to security. In this instance, creating a development and crisis response framework proves essential to supporting areas that suffer when these 'shocks' occur, for example the agricultural sector, physical infrastructure, and water and sanitation. This case study was particularly timely give the ongoing response efforts in the Philippines and will help us transition to our final human development classes next week.

The Oxy at the UN program has certainly given participants myriad experiences to be thankful for. Though our days are long, exhausting, and constantly test us, not one among us does not appreciate the opportunities this program affords to grow personally, academically, and professionally. This was special Thanksgiving then, and participants celebrated it in different ways. Some visited family in North Carolina, New Hampshire, Maine, New Jersey, Long Island; while, others celebrated the holiday with the Oxy at the UN family or visitors here in New York City.

After Thanksgiving, holiday decorations have cropped up all over Manhattan. The festive atmosphere and crisp air certainly make the everyday commute seem cheerier, but they're also a reminder that the end of the program is near for Oxy at the UN. However, participants are eager to make the most of their time left, making plans to go ice skating, window shopping, and strolling through Central Park. Check out the Sights and Sounds page for more pictures from this weekend.

Though every day on the program is remarkable for Oxy at the UN participants, certain experiences stand out. This week's highlights demonstrate the range of opportunities and responsibilities students take on. For example, Jean Coleman (Honduran Mission) officially voted on behalf of her country on third committee resolutions this week, which covered human rights issues. Leslie Crosdale left for Morocco on Tuesday with the UN Millennium Campaign to participate in the country's MyWorld campaign. A number of Oxy at the UN participants attending the Open Working Group on Development and heard renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs speak on the post-2015 agenda. Andrew Bariahtaris and Zach Abels (UK Mission) were in a third committee (human rights) meeting until 10:20 PM on Wednesday as the committee needed to conclude its work on twelve resolutions.

These last two weeks promise to be busy and exhilarating for the program. As the end draws nearer, participants are becoming more self-reflective and realizing that a short spring semester is all that stands between them and the "real world" that they've been a part of for three months now. It is with grateful hearts, curious minds, and confident resolve that we take on the last two weeks of the program.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Week Twelve, Nov. 17 - 23

It was business as usual on the Oxy at the UN Program this week, though it was not without its highlights. In Conflict Prevention, we hosted an alum of the program, Julia Bleckner, who shared with us her research as a Fulbright fellow a few years ago. Program participants took on temporary roles as UN agency representatives in this week's Human Development simulation on Myanmar/Burma. Read on to hear participants' reflections on what they've learned in their internships and how they've changed over the course of the semester.

Oxy at the UN hosted a familiar face to the program in Wednesday's Conflict Prevention class; Julia Bleckner '10, now at Human Rights Watch, joined our class to talk about peacekeeping and women. After Occidental, Julia conducted a Fulbright research project in Bangladesh on integrating women into peacekeeping as a means of deterring sexual exploitation and assault. Her research involved interviewing male and female peacekeepers on their perception of sexual assault and exploitation within the contexts of their responsibility to protect civilians and as an issue within peacekeeping forces. Efforts to increase what is known as 'gender mainstreaming', or integrating an awareness of how conflict affects different genders and how each has a role to play in conflict prevention and resolution, have caused a rise in the number of women peacekeepers and efforts to address sexual assault in conflict. Topical training programs focus on peacekeepers, which can be police and military troops, with a mandate to protect civilians. This is beginning to show positive results in the field but practice is far from perfect. In addition (and horrifically) peacekeepers themselves sometimes sexually assault civilians or perpetuate sexual exploitation. Though the UN takes a 'zero tolerance' policy stance in this regard, it has little legal enforcement ability as accused peacekeepers are repatriated to their national government for recourse. Thus, it is up to national governments to pursue prosecution. In such a politically-charged environment as peacekeeping, where the dynamics among troop-contributing countries and between them and the UN are vastly complex, there is little imperative for governments to self-shame. In our discussion with Julia, we realized the need for more research on the issue as well as reform within the UN system to both prevent and strengthen justice on these issues. 

Professor Fomerand and Julia Bleckner
We had back-to-back human development classes this week; in one class meeting we looked at the Renewable Energy and Rural Electricity Access Project (REAP) in Mongolia. This case study in rural development had us revisit a presentation we had at the World Bank on the Washington DC trip. We considered the role of the World Bank and its legitimacy as a financial institution and development actor. Traditionally, the World Bank has focused its efforts on infrastructure investment projects but increasingly is embracing 'softer' development focus areas such as energy and sustainability. In Mongolia, the World Bank invested in an energy project to subsidize solar panels for people living in rural areas. The program's success (over 100,000 people gained access to solar-powered energy) made a huge impact on how nomadic herders and village centers operate. However, like many development efforts, this project faced challenges after the World Bank and other investors left despite measures taken to garner local support for panel maintenance. Our discussions focused on project analysis and how investors such as the World Bank determine best methods of program implementation. 

In our other development class we held a simulation exercise on the first meeting of the UN Country Team in Myanmar/Burma. Students were challenged to take on roles representative of UN agencies, the country's Resident Coordinator (and team), and government representatives. This simulation proved chillingly realistic as the actual UN Country Team is currently deploying in 'real time' and meeting with government representatives for the first time. Because Myanmar/Burma is only just beginning to open up to the UN and 'outside world', initial impressions are paramount to developing a genuine, mutually-supportive relationship, particularly with regard to development. 

An Oxy at the UN delegate snapped this picture of a
Committee voting screen on the resolution
"Permanent Sovereignty of the Occupied Palestinian Territories."
Oxy at the UN rounded out the week with another UN Experience class in which students reflected on what we've learned in our internships and on the program. Participants shared stories of leadership and working methods observed in their supervisors, many of whom put in long days (sometimes sending emails as late as 3 in the morning) and work tirelessly to deliver their best work possible. The reality of these 'UN bureaucratic hours' have impressed upon the Oxy at the UN interns that maximizing personal and professional efficiency are essential when operating within the UN system. Some program participants described observing a change in their writing style from the comprehensive, detailed, academic prose developed at Oxy to a precise, formal, and clear-cut style typical of UN documents. 

Coming up this week are a number of exciting events in the professional lives of UN Program participants. We are very proud to announce that Leslie Crosdale will be traveling with the UN Millennium Campaign to Morocco. This amazing opportunity arose last-minute and will put Leslie in Morocco for a few days this week. Look forward to updates on her trip and reports from the field! Also this week, Rachel Farkas (UNFPA) is hosting an expert group meeting on family planning strategy that she's been organizing for weeks. Rachel's been entrusted with catering, budget, travel itineraries, concept notes, meeting agendas and much more. Check in with us next week for updates on program participants' activities and more lessons learned!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Week Eleven, November 10 - 16

Rachel Farkas captured this stunning picture in
Central Park over the weekend.
Oxy at the UN participants awoke to find falling snow on Tuesday morning, a sign that winter is indeed coming and that our semester is quickly slipping through our fingers. This week involved debriefing on our trip to DC and flexing our academic muscles as participants took on more complex subjects in our classes. However, the seemingly normal day-to-day activities at the UN were marked this week by the destruction and humanitarian crisis in the Philippines caused by the super-typhoon. Read on to hear about the reaction at the UN as well as ongoing response efforts.

For all its faults and hiccups, the UN is pretty dang good at answering to natural disaster; as an organization it has people and resources on the ground in almost every country on earth. Its reaction to Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines leaving 5,00 dead and 920,000 displaced (UN News Centre) has been timely, and its 3 coordination centers are operational and already distributing essential aid. In a crisis such as this one, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) takes the lead in consolidating and coordinating efforts among UN agencies such as UNICEF, WFP, UNHCR, and UNDP. The Under-Secretary General for OCHA, Valerie Amos, has flown to the Philippines to lead the crisis response. Typhoon Haiyan, similar to other natural disasters, has lasting implications for developing and can very easily inflame tensions as the security and stability situation deteriorates. Schools, public services, and economic activities, hallmarks of normalcy and civil structure, become halted as a region struggles to survive and respond. To find out how you can donate to efforts on the ground, click the UN agency links in this paragraph. 

In our Conflict Prevention class, we wrapped up our discussion of human rights and conflict prevention by considering the argument that conflict prevention can be human rights-based, focused on the accountability of the individual in conflict.  This necessitates the creation, maintenance, and promotion of binding legal institutions, which, if the real world has taught us anything, are not easily realizable. Established in 2002 by the Rome Statute, the International Criminal Court is the prevailing institution of an international legal system, but it remains highly controversial in political and academic circles. Currently, the president and vice president of Kenya are being indicted by the court for inciting post-election violence in 2007. The two leaders, with the majority of African states rallying behind them, were recently denied an appeal to defer the trial in the aftermath of the Westgate Mall shootings of September. This case will continue to be central to debates concerning impunity, accountability, unequal application of the Rome Statute, and the politics between Africa and the 'West.'

In Human Development, we turned to Myanmar (still classified as 'Burma' by the United States government), which until very recently was equated with political oppression, ethnic conflict, and in a state of total isolation. Myanmar has been subjected to international sanctions, most notably embargoes on arms transfers, and critiqued for human rights violations. While these issues still persist, the country makes a compelling case study for development. A recent shift in political power has opened Myanmar up to international development. In our class, we spoke about how these efforts should align judicial reform with policy reform in order to create disincentives for illegal or unequal profiteering groups and mechanisms in resource extraction and management. One advocate has pushed for making resource contracts public so as to encourage civilian public oversight of management mechanisms. We will continue our study this coming week as we simulate UN development programs in the country. 

We met on Friday this week for our UN Experience class, in which we discussed Samantha Power's book Chasing the Flame, a chronicle of UN icon and hero Sergio Vierra de Mello. One of the main themes that came out of our discussion was the divide in the UN between the 'field' and headquarters, which poses serious logistical and policy risks. This was apparent in Power's book in that Sergio was often frustrated by the lack of understanding at 'HQ' of how things work in the field and the difficulty field workers face in implementing orders from people in New York. This disconnect is not only irresponsible, but it's dangerous. Sergio played the role of a chameleon, able and more than willing to identify with the 'big powers' who make things happen at the UN as well as dedicate himself to working empathetically in the field. Field work can oftentime legitimize and inform policy work, bolstering the relevance and credibility of certain actors, such as Sergio. Out of this, we critiqued the "UN that meets versus the UN that does", a theme we will develop in the coming weeks.

Oxy at the UN rounded out the week with a bagel breakfast on Sunday morning. Participants were able to enjoy the glorious fall by visiting museums, walking and biking in Central Park, and meandering the autumn streets of the West Village and Chelsea. Ben spotted British actor Steve Coogan in the lobby of the 92Y, a reminder of the star-studded speaker events that the Y hosts. A number of Oxy at the UN participants are hoping to get in a few of these events before the time we leave. 


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Week Ten, November 3 - 9

Students and professors out front of the White House following their meeting at the NSC.

Oxy at the UN found itself in a new environment this week. Washington DC played host to the sixteen students and our two professors as we embarked on a two-day, whirlwind visit to the State Department, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, National Security Council, and Brookings Institute to name just a few of this trip's many highlights. The Great DC Adventure began Wednesday night at Penn Station in New York City, where we met to take an Amtrak train down the eastern seaboard to DC. The three hour trip was optimum time for Oxy at the UN participants to put in some quality time on research for our two classes. Students are preparing research and policy papers on topics ranging from Somali extractive industries to the evolution of refugee crisis management to civilian oversight of security sector reform. Needless to say, students have been putting in many long, quality hours between classes and their more-than-full time jobs, and the train was the perfect environment for quiet work time. 

Oxy at the UN participants and professors hit the ground running at 7:30AM Thursday with a working breakfast, closely followed by a visit to the State Department where they met with a series of seasoned professionals. The foreign service officers, experts working in the Bureau of Conflict Stabilization Operations, and others were nothing short of inspiring in their personal and professional accounts of working domestically and abroad for the US government. Their genuine responses and articulate reflections created the perfect context for students' visits to international and government organizations as well as provided food for thought for subsesquent meetings at think tanks. 

students and professors pause outside the IMF for a group photo op
From the State Department, Oxy at the UN walked to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, where they met with high-level officials and engaged them on issues including the post-2015 development agenda, relations and collaboration with the UN on various practices and policies, and the practicalities of implementing development and assistance programs abroad. Oxy at the UN participants kept the distinguished guests on their toes with questions and comments on these issues. 

After ten exhilarating hours, Oxy at the UN hosted some familiar faces to the program; a reception was held in honor of Oxy at the UN alums. Current seniors were able to pick the brains of the program veterans on post-Oxy life and work in the international relations field. Part family-reunion and part stellar networking opportunity, an enjoyable evening was had by all. 

Friday began with a visit to the National Security Council, where Oxy at the UN had the great pleasure of meeting with Celeste Wallander (pictured at right shaking hands with Andrew Bariahtaris) who currently serves as the principle director for Russia at the National Security Council. Her dynamism and quick wit made for an engaging discussion with Oxy at the UN. Visitors posed for a picture outside of the White House before heading to their next meetings at the Brookings Institute and Peterson Institute, where they met with Strobe Talbott (Brookings president) and Steven Weisman (editorial and publications director) respectively. Conversations with both Mr. Talbott and Mr. Weisman reflected the academic interests of students as well as provided opportunities for them to draw on their experiences from the Oxy at the UN program. 

After a quick lunch, Oxy met with Dr. David Yang, Director of the Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance at USAID, for a discussion on bilateral development efforts (pictured at left). Dr. Yang was a great resource of information on how certain development efforts are planned and implemented within the larger scope of bilateral relations. Following this insightful visit, Oxy at the UN stopped for one last meeting with Ted Bergreen, Chief of Staff to Representative Adam Schiff (D, California), on Capitol Hill. Mr. Bergreen provided a valuable perspective into the inter-workings of politics on the Hill and the intricacies of how the work of the US Congress reacts to, influences, and complements the work of the United Nations. 

At right: Oxy at the UN participants share a laugh with Mr. Bergreen during their discussion. In spite of it being Friday evening of a long week, the meeting was dynamic and instigated thoughtful exchange on the challenges and opportunities posed by domestic and international interfaces. 

Our trip to Washington DC was insightful, motivating, and comprehensive, and it is with a broadened world view and deepened understandings of US-UN relations and domestic efforts to further values reflected in the UN system that we return to our work in missions and agencies. Check out the "Sights and Sounds" page for more pictures from the trip; and don't miss the "Distinguished Guests of the Program" page for one of this week's highlights from our Human Development class. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Week Nine, October 27- November 2

Oxy at the UN participants, Professors Fomerand and Gardner, and
Corinne Woods (second from right) at the My World "People's Podium".
As Oxy at the UN wrapped up the month of October, we reflect on the interconnectedness of the UN system. Often criticized for being overly-bureaucratic and hyper-political, the UN is a complex web of dynamics and interactions that are difficult to comprehend under one aegis. In our personal and classroom discussions it is becoming more clear that to say "the UN" and label it, criticize it, or hold it accountable is a type of folly; so often the member states and agencies operate on different motives with different rules of engagement and in different spheres. For these actors to be able to use the same language on pressing issues as well as to collaborate with and exert influence on each other is nothing short of miraculous. Despite the challenges these present, we found that such cohesion is not impossible during a compelling visit this week to the post-2015 Development Campaign's My World exhibit at UNICEF house, an effort that effectively bridges that distance between the policies and interests of states and the work of UN agencies.  

The United Nations Development Program describes the My World Campaign as "a global survey for citizens... that invites people to vote for six of the sixteen" top issue areas of highest priority for development. By engaging citizens around the world in this conversation, My World provides governments, NGOs, UN agencies, and the international community with a direct resource for post-2015 planning. This powerful tool seeks to ground the debates on post-2015 issues in the real interests of real people. My World gathers votes from people all over the world by online ballot and via thousands of volunteers who set out on foot, bike, bus, and train. So far, over 1 million people have participated and voiced their priorities. The online survey takes approximately 30 seconds, and Oxy at the UN highly encourages our readers to take part. The Development Campaign has collected a wealth of data through My World and has a fascinating and interactive website showing voting results (disclaimer: you may become addicted to this website).  Our introduction to My World was provided by one of our own, Leslie Crosdale (pictured at right) who works on the My World campaign at UNDP. Leslie most recently has been collecting and organizing 1000 votes from Azerbaijan and from refugee camps in Haiti.

We were guided through the beautiful My World exhibit by none other than the director of the Millennium Campaign, Corinne Woods, whose passion for connecting the too-often detached policy-making mechanisms with the voices of real people was inspiring. Following our tour, Ms. Woods accompanied us to our classroom for an engaging and dynamic discussion on her work and the aims of the My World Campaign. Hearing from her directly the impact this effort could have on legitimizing and grounding the development goals and discussions in planning for after 2015 made us realize the significance of breaking through the seemingly-monstrous bureaucracy of the "UN system" and the political dynamics among member states. What's more, Corinne Woods is one of those rare people you have the privilege of speaking with that leave you with the distinct impression that not only do you and your passions matter but that there's nothing in the world that could stop you succeeding. Her zeal and dedication were refreshing and renewed a sense calm and confidence in our own work and places in the UN system. 

This past week in academics saw an evolution in our discussions of the international community's tools and mechanisms to bring about the peaceful resolution of conflict and to build national capacity for development. Tuesday's class on conflict prevention covered the issues of peace enforcement and sanctions, in which we asked if peacekeeping, in its modern state, reinforces a global hierarchy. Our discussion focused on the complexity of the Security Council, the body responsible for peace, security, and authoring peacekeeping mandates, and the dynamics of resourcing a peacekeeping mission. The highest troop contributing countries to peacekeeping missions come from countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Rwanda; these countries and their peers are responsible for equipping and training their troops to adequate achieve mission mandates, which often pose significant financial and resource burdens. Another alternate tool to peacekeeping missions is the imposition of sanctions, such as those imposed on Iraq in the 1990s and 2000s. Meant to elicit change from those in power, sanctions are often controversial for their adverse effects on the civilian population, particularly those of lower socio-economic status. Our impassioned discussions will continue next week as we take on the use of force in peacekeeping operations. 

We had a guest in Human Development this weekNadia Rasheed, who enriched our examination of the case of HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia. Ms. Rasheed, who currently oversees management in UNDP and works closely with regional teams and policy development, contributed great insight into a community-based approach to national capacity building within the context of Ethiopia's response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We focused on the this method's potential for bringing together a community on these issues and facilitating cross-gender, cross-generational education and collaboration. The perspective we gained from Ms. Rasheed's contributions will add to the dynamics of future discussions, such as this week's upcoming case study of Costa Rica. 

Participant highlights from the week included Gillian Harger (Guatemalan Mission) attending closed negotiations on the drafting of a Chapter VII Security Council resolution (Ch VII oftentimes authorizes the use of force in peacekeeping missions). Ellie Quinlan (Rwandan Mission) heard a statement she wrote delivered by the Rwandan delegation to a committee of the General Assembly.

This upcoming week, Oxy at the UN takes a trip to Washington DC, where we will visit the State Department, IMF, World Bank, and Brookings Institute as well as hosting a reception for Oxy alums of the program. Check out our newsletter next week for trip highlights!