Posted by: alyserichmond | January 13, 2011

UN Global Compact

By Alyse Richmond

My first two weeks in New York have been incredible. I am finally adapting to the cold, and the concept of putting on so many layers to go outside, and then taking them all off anytime i go inside!

Getting started at the UN was quite turbulent. While I had been accepted by the UN Global Compact, I had to submit a separate application through the UN intern office and be officially accepted by them also. After having my resume diverted to several UN agencies and offending many of them by refusing to interview with them, I FINALLY got my official acceptance from the UN one week before I left!

My first week at the Global Compact was pretty slow because it was the Christmas break and there weren’t many people in the office. But it has picked up now. All the people at the office are really nice and its a very relaxed environment. Its a very international workplace (which I guess is not unexpected for the UN) but there are perhaps only 2 Americans in the office, the rest being from overseas.  People are always speaking other languages, on the phone and too each other! Its pretty amazing.

I am working on a few projects here at the moment. Firstly, I am working on a project in which the UN Global Compact is developing a Due Diligence system for the UN agencies to utilise when selecting a business partner from the private sector. The system ensures that the UN will only chose private partners that display integrity and attempts to prevent the UN from partnering with anyone that could tarnish its image.

The second project I am working on is in relation to the UN Global Compact Human Rights and Business Dilemmas Forum, which allows businesses to post problems and collaborate in a discussion forum, share experiences etc. It is a new initiative, so my role is just to engage with businesses that are a part of the UN Global Compact and encourage them to start utilising the forum and suggesting practices that have worked for them to others.

My final project, and I guess my main project, is helping co-ordinate a Conference the Global Compact is holding in New York in March on the Womens Empowerment Principles (WEP). I’m quite excited just by the prospect of being able to attend. There will be business leaders from around the world attending and expert speakers addressing the issues of gender equality and practical ways that businesses can empower women in the workplace.

Living in New York is amazing, even in spite of the cold. There is so much to see and do and eat! its amazing! I am really looking forward to the next 10 weeks at work and continuing to work on the WEP conference. Stay tuned for how it goes!

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