United Nations Study Tour Carried Out in New York – First Time Since 2020

February 20, 2023

From February 6 to 9, 2023, TUFS has hosted a study programme in the United Nations Headquarters and related organs in New York City, as part of the 2022/2023 Winter Global Liberal Arts Program, “United Nations Study Programme” (Coordinated by Ms. Chikako TAKASE). The programme has been held since 2017, but it was conducted virtually in the last two years. This year’s programme has thus marked the fourth time, and the first time since 2020, that participants traveled to NYC and visited the UN Headquarters in-person.

17 undergraduate students participated in the programme. Ms. Chikako TAKASE, instructor in charge of the programme, and an internal programme coordinator (Mr. Kota OGURI) accompanied them on their trip. Vice President Jun MATSUKUMA, who was visiting New York to attend a CAAS Coordinators’ Meeting and a TUFS Global Community Meeting, also attended most part of the programme.

Before traveling to NYC, the students completed a series of preparatory lectures by Lecturer TAKASE in Autumn to understand the work of the UN. They also conducted group research projects to learn more about specific topics each was interested in. In NYC, they attended briefings by 10 officials from various UN offices and organizations to acquaint themselves more deeply with the work of the UN.

Besides the briefings, on February 6, the students joined the guided tour around the UN Headquarters to learn about UN’s philosophies as well as facilities. On the same day, they also attended an introductory lecture by a librarian of the Dag Hammarskjöld Library on how to use resources at the UN for their studies.

On February 7, the students made an honorary visit to the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations. They were welcomed by Ms. Ai ABO (the First Secretary, a TUFS alumna), who gave a briefing on Japan’s UN Diplomacy, and two other alumni working as staff of the Mission.

On February 9, the students joined a panel discussion by three more TUFS graduates working at the UN –– Mr. Takakazu ITO (Department of Operational Support), Ms. Hinata IMAI (Department of Peace Operations), and Ms. Maiko NAKANO (Department of Global Communications) –– to talk about their jobs at the UN especially in relation to their experiences at TUFS. The panel discussion was moderated by Ms. Junko SATO, a UN retiree who helped coordinate this program from New York to directly talk to the UN Department of Global Communications when necessary. In the evening, the students were invited to a TUFS Global Community Meeting with the members of the New York branch of Tokyo Gaigokai, the alumni association of TUFS.

While the study programme at the UN Headquarters was held for four days from February 6 to 9, the trip to NYC itself was made between February 5 and 12. On February 5, the students toured around Manhattan on a chartered bus and inspected various sites there. Also, on February 10, they individually visited places of their choice to know more of the city beyond the UN premises.

The programme must have offered a valuable opportunity for the students, especially those aspiring to work on a global scale, to imagine their future careers. One student commented that the UN used to seem like an abstract and remote concept, but after meeting with officials there, it became far more realistic and familiar. On the last day of the programme, the students left the premises rather slowly and reluctantly, as if to cherish their memories there –– until the day, hopefully before too long, they achieve their dreams and come back to the place again.

(left) In front of the UN Headquarters, (upper right) Guided tour at the UN Headquarters, (lower right) Briefing by Ms. Chunyao Yi from Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
(upper left) Briefing by Mr. Eduard Mihalas from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), (lower left) Briefing by Mr. Tomoo Okubo from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), (upper right) Briefing by Ms. Abo Ai (a TUFS alumna), First Secretary, from the Permanent Mission of Japan to the UN, (lower right)Till the day we come back
Panel discussion with three alumni working at the UN