'The United Nations wants Israelis'

World body tries to overcome its "image problem" as it seeks to recruit locals at Tel Aviv fair.

By HAVIV RETTIG GUR
October 10, 2007 23:45
2 minute read.
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The UN is looking for professionals to help in its humanitarian work, and "it's clear that Israelis have the skills," Stephane Dujarric, a representative of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, told The Jerusalem Post ahead of a recruiting drive at Tel Aviv University on Thursday. "In fields such as agricultural development, growing things in very difficult arid terrain, Israelis have the skills and the UN has the jobs," he said. The Thursday event is hosted by TAU's medical school, IsraAID - the Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid - and the Foreign Ministry. "The UN would like to recruit the best and brightest from every country," explained Dujarric, "so it's important we reach out to young people who'd like to serve on an international level, on a global level, whether in health, development or human rights." "They want Israelis. It's very simple," said Shachar Zahavi, chairman of IsraAID. "Israeli experts have worked in these organizations for 50 years, since Golda Meir visited African countries in 1958 and Israel began a foreign aid program to help them. This included Israeli experts in food production, medicine, water and many other fields." Representatives from the World Health Organization, UN-HABITAT, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN Environment Program will be on hand to try to entice Israelis into joining the ranks of the world body. Some of them will be Israelis who have served in senior positions in these organizations. Will the UN succeed in recruiting Israelis to an institution often perceived in this country as anti-Israel? "Clearly, the UN has an image problem in Israel," said Dujarric, "and so I think we sometimes have a hard time recruiting people because of the general image the UN has within the Israeli public. It's clear and understandable that the Israeli perspective of the UN is seen through the prism of the situation that Israelis and people in the Middle East live in." But, he insists, "there's much more to the UN, and our challenge is to make sure young Israelis who are considering an international career understand this." According to Dujarric, the UN as an organization "is welcoming and open to people of all nationalities. We're a global organization, so the nationals of every member state need to feel at home and welcome here." The event will take place at the Bar-Shira Hall on the TAU campus from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Attendees will hear UN representatives speak about their organizations' needs and their own personal experiences, and obtain details on how one joins the ranks of the UN. Organizers promise that more private meetings for individuals interested in applying for a position at the UN can be arranged.

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