EMMA COOPER ’20
Mita Hosali gave a presentation on her position as the deputy director at the United Nations News and Media Division on Thursday, April 5 in Gamble Auditorium. Hosali began with a quote from Dag Hammarskjöld, who served as the United Nation’s second security-general: “The United Nations was not created to take mankind to heaven, but to save humanity from hell.”
According to Hosali, the United Nations was established in 1945, and the United Nations News and Media Division was created a year later in 1946. For those interested in international affairs, Hosali advised, “You really need to understand what the U.N. Charter says … People have said that the United Nations Charter was created not so much to prevent World War III, but to prevent World War II.”
Since then, she explained that there have been unprecedented global threats, like the “destruction of cultural heritage, the menace of climate change and the insidious march of terrorism.” Her division of the United Nations has also faced new hurdles including figuring out “how to adapt itself to the challenges posed by the digital revolution.”
However, Hosali believes the U.N. has managed to serve humanity and make the world a better place to live in many ways. “What people forget all too often is that [the U.N.] is a catalyst in creating a normative framework,” she said. She called attention to the organization’s role in establishing over 500 multilateral treaties, maintaining peace and improving living standards.
Hosali also highlighted the work of “amazing women” on the international stage who she thinks do not receive enough attention, such as Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
The presentation was followed by a student-moderated discussion and a Q&A. Sarah Hutter ’20 said of the talk, “I came to the event because I am currently taking World Politics and we have talked a lot about the U.N., so I thought it would be interesting to hear from someone who works there … I’m a politics major so it’s always good to start thinking about what careers are out there after I graduate.”
“I thought the presentation was very interesting, and I appreciated how honest and upfront Mrs. Hosali was about the difficulties that come with having such a high-powered and fast-paced job,” Hutter said. “She came across as really relatable too. It is also always inspiring to hear from a woman in a top position in a male-dominated field.”
As the events coordinator of the Mount Holyoke Entrepreneurship Club, Romina Gupta ’20 helped organize the event, which she said was “maybe the most stressful process ever.” Gupta and the other board members of the Entrepreneurship Club had been planning for the event since early February.
After reaching out to different departments on campus, the Entrepreneurship Club was able to sponsor the event in conjunction with the Weissman Center for Leadership, the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives, the department of politics and the department of international relations.
In Gupta’s eyes, the event was very helpful, as Hosali was “well-spoken and inspiring” and was able to connect with students, both during her presentation and after while talking to students one-on-one. Gupta also appreciated the candid nature of Hosali’s presentation, and noted that it probably wasn’t quite what the audience was expecting. “She was honest about it, she wasn’t just promoting the U.N. in and of itself,” she said.
At the end of her presentation, Hosali listed ways for people to keep up-to-date with the United Nations. She suggested the United Nations website as the principal resource for general information about the organization and its initiatives. The U.N. also has accounts on major social media platforms throughout the world and, according to Hosali, “not just the ones that you’re familiar with.”
Another great resource is the U.N. news centre, which Hosali is responsible for. Hosali mentioned some of their most recent publications including a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination and a feature with advocate Daniel Craig for International Landmine Awareness Day.
For Hosali, perhaps one of the most meaningful endeavors she and her team have been involved with are “Sold For a Packet of Cigarettes,” a video that highlights the stories of women suffering from sexual violence in the Middle East, and documenting the persecution of the Rohingya. In particular she suggests watching the first-person testimony of Adama Dieng, the United Nations special adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.