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Voices of the United Nations

UN dignitaries share their global perspective in monthly lecture series

Posted in: Human Services, University

Ambassador of Pakistan to the United Nations, His Excellency Nabeel Munir, shaking hands with a student
photo: Dan Epstein

As Ambassador of Pakistan to the United Nations, His Excellency Nabeel Munir is able to offer unique insights on recent headline-making events. His March 5 talk, “Inside the United Nations,” was the latest in Montclair State University’s new Pollack Speaker Series on International Security.

The series strengthens the University’s connection with the United Nations through the UN Academic Impact (UNAI) initiative, an international network of colleges and universities that supports UN goals such as the protection of human rights, access to education, sustainability and conflict resolution.

“It’s a real privilege that we can have such important people from the United Nations come here and tell us firsthand about what goes on there,” says Political Science major Adam Adrignolo, who attended Munir’s talk.

Funded by a gift from the late alumnus Sidney Pollack to support public lectures addressing issues related to the social sciences funds, the new series kicked off in November. “Inside the United Nations Security Council” talks were given by Joakim Vaverka, Political Coordinator to the Security Council and Minister Counselor of Sweden and Elbio Roselli, former President of the Security Council and Ambassador of Uruguay to the UN.

While Feda Abdelhady Nasser, Ambassador of Palestine to the UN was the series’ speaker in December, Sacha Llorenty Soliz, Ambassador of Bolivia to the UN and Former President of the Security Council visited campus in February.

In March, in addition to Ambassador Munir, the University will host American Peacekeeper at the UN Stacy McDougall, who has been deployed as a civilian advisor in peacekeeping missions in Africa and Haiti. She will speak on March 26. Deputy Permanent Representative of Bulgaria to the United Nations Lachezara Stoeva will speak on April 18.

Political Science professor Alfredo Toro Carnevali, who coordinates the Political Science and Law department’s minor in Global Security and Diplomacy, has organized the Pollack Speaker Series. “The original purpose of the series was to give people a sense of what diplomacy is, how it is practiced and what goes on inside the United Nations,” he explains.

According to Toro Carnevali, a further goal has been to cover all regions of the world. “The program has also helped people broaden their perspective on a lot of global issues by hearing firsthand from first-class representatives from around the world – including Asia, Western and Eastern Europe, Latin America and the United States,” he says. “Every one of our events has a long Q&A session. Giving students that close interaction is an important part of the project.”

The series offers students access to first-hand accounts, giving them perspective on what it means to work with an international community to make the world a better place.

“The speaker series has given us not only insight on the Security Council but also unique perspectives from the different nations presented by each speaker,” says senior Political Science major Argjenta Kaba.

In planning the series, Toro Carnevali has drawn on contacts made during his 10 years as a diplomat to the United Nations, where he served as deputy political coordinator of Venezuela’s delegation to the United Nations Security Council; chair of the Security Council’s sub-committee on counterterrorism and non-proliferation; and vice president of the General Assembly committee on disarmament and international security.

He has also designed – and will serve as the instructor for – the inaugural session of the Montclair State University Model United Nations Summer Academy, an intensive, weeklong summer in-residence program for high-achieving high school students.

According to Toro Carnevali, up to 25 students will be able to come to campus in July to gain skills in public speaking, research and negotiating, and address topical issues ranging from international security to human rights. They will also receive certification for three college credits after completing the program.

By giving Academy high school students a firsthand taste of all that Montclair State offers, the hope is that many of them may ultimately elect to apply to the University.

To learn more about the Model United Nations Summer Academy visit: