It was a day of celebration and learning at the Our Lady of the Angels Preparatory School in St. Andrew on Friday, as the institution hosted its United Nations (UN)/Jamaica Day celebrations.
The Molynes Road School was alive with excitement and energy, as the students and teachers showcased aspects of Jamaica’s cultural legacy, as well as the history and functions of the UN through dance, music and poetry. The event was held under the theme: ‘On a Mission to Heal the World’.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, who brought greetings at the opening ceremony, told the students about the aims and objectives of the UN, informing them that Jamaica became a member following its independence in 1962.
He noted that the UN was formed in the aftermath of the Second World War in 1945 with the objective of maintaining peace and security throughout the world, and has done a “creditable job” in carrying out its mandate.
Mr. Brown also informed of the many contributions Jamaica has made to the work of the UN, including its involvement in the organisation’s peacekeeping missions across the globe. “…Right now there are 17 members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, who are in different parts of the world as peacekeepers,” he said.
Additionally, he said, Jamaica has played a significant role in the campaign against apartheid in South Africa, pointing out that the island was very instrumental in the UN system in fighting against racial indiscrimination, social and economic injustices in the African country.
“Jamaica has also played a huge role in the independence of Zimbabwe and Namibia and several other countries in Africa,” he told the students.
Mr. Brown informed that Jamaicans have also held key leadership roles in the UN over the years. These included: Angela King, who was Assistant Secretary General for Gender and Women’s Affairs from 1997 to 2004; Ambassador Patricia Durrant, first UN Ombudsman, 2002 to 2007; and Ambassador Dr. Lucille Mair, first female to be appointed the Under Secretary General to the UN.
The State Minister further told the students that they were not too young to start thinking about a career in the Foreign Service or working with the UN.
“There are opportunities that are available for you to serve your country…working in different places across the world and working in the UN,” he stated.
The UN was founded to replace the League of Nations, to stop wars between countries, and to provide a platform for dialogue.
It contains multiple subsidiary organisations to carry out its missions. The UN, which has its headquarters in New York, consists of some 192 member states.