My World at the United Nations

29 Jan 2015 | by Anastasia Zakharova


Les Roches International School of Hotel Management alumna, Anastasia Zakharova, has started work at the United Nations. In this article, she introduces us to her new place of work: the Forests, Land and Housing Division of the UN Economic Commission for Europe.

As a new blogger I would like to introduce myself. My name is Anastasia Zakharova and I am working in the Forests, Land and Housing Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). I would like to welcome you to my world at the United Nations.

UnitedNations_broken chairI am sure many of you have seen and taken pictures of a giant sized chair with one broken leg in Geneva. Do any of you know why it has one broken leg? Well, if you did not know, the chair symbolizes the opposition to land mines and cluster bombs, and acts as a reminder to politicians and tourists visiting Geneva. It is situated in front of the Palais des Nations, the beautiful and mysterious building which seems enigmatic, inaccessible yet enticing to everyone who passes by.


Many people want to work at the United Nations but they do not know how to get in. People usually think that the hiring procedure takes a lot of effort, time and that very often prospective employees need to wait several months or even years until they receive a final answer.

Partially this is true; however there are some cases where people get a job in a relatively short period of time. It all depends on job availability, experience, special qualifications and, I believe, also luck. My advice for the younger generations who want to become part of this institution is to apply for an internship at one of the UN organizations or to try and pass the Young Professionals Program examination, which opens a lot of doors.


My first days at the Palais were dizzying as I could not believe I was working in such enormous and majestic building where some of the most valuable international agreements have been discussed, negotiated, and signed. I was going along the corridors, passing the Salle des Pas Perdus and the Assembly Hall and imagining myself as a heroine of the lovely French movie “Belle du Seigneur”, that was filmed at the Palais.

Les Roches International School of Hotel Management alumna working at the United NationsI started as an intern and luckily became a temporary staff member at the newly established Forests, Land and Housing Division of UNECE. Our division focuses mainly on ‘ensuring that pan- European forests continue to be looked after and that threats are identified and adequately addressed’ and ‘facilitates a dialogue between governments for sharing innovative practice, giving advice and developing policy guidelines to address common housing and land management problems’. Before entering the ‘forestry world’ I never imagined the amount of work that experts from this industry did to make the world a greener place.

Did you know that innovative and modern wood-derived fibres are the greatest hope of a sustainable clothing material?  Or that the newer forms of viscose can be considered as the most environmentally friendly of the four most common fibres in production today?


Photo by Vogue Italy
Photo by Vogue Italy

Last year on 21 of March, UNECE joined with the Food and Agricultural Organization to host Forests for Fashion-Fashion for Forests event to facilitate a dialogue between the forest and fashion industries. It was led by the legendary artist Michelangelo Pistoletto, who has extensively exhibited worldwide and worked with the numerous museums and institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC, the Tate Modern, London, and the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid. The event was a great success and raised awareness of using “green” fabrics while creating fashion.

This year, we will organize Forests for Food – Food for Forests event that will also take place at the Palais des Nations. The main goal and focus of this event is to gather representatives of academia, NGOs, International Organizations and businesses to explore, analyse and confront experiences on the synergies and issues around forests and food. We have a lot of ideas on how to make this event more interesting and attractive, and I am welcome to any propositions!

Ok enough talking, have to go back to work. I will be writing an update on the following event very soon.

Anastasia Zakharova


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