29 May 2013

Facebook chat with an international UNV in Haiti

In the run up to the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme hosted a live Facebook chat on 27 May 2013 with Isabelle Blanc, an international UN Volunteer who is serving with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

Isabelle, a national of France, started as a UN Volunteer with the UNV Support Office (SO) for MINUSTAH in March 2011. She has been one of approximately 3,000 UN Volunteers who served with the United Nations Department for Peacekeeping Operations and the United Nations Department of Political Affairs (UNDPA) in 2012.

Isabelle has always been a volunteer, first with the secular Scouts (in France and abroad), with French NGO Secours Populaire and then with the American Red Cross in Tanzania. She became a UN Volunteer in 2008 when she first joined the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) Mission in Chad (MINURCAT) as a UNV Property & Claims Assistant. Her motivation and spirit led her to become the Coordination Officer for the UNV SO. After leaving Chad, she became the UNV Project & Advocacy Officer for the UNV SO in Haiti. Prior to becoming a UN Volunteer, she worked for a law firm in the UK, taught French and studied in Spain.

Chat participants asked Isabelle a variety of questions in English, French and Spanish, including what UN Volunteers do in peacekeeping missions and how her experience as a volunteer with the Scouts helped prepare her for her work in Haiti.
Isabelle also offered these words of advice for anyone wishing to be a UN Volunteer: “Believe that you can make a change! Be ready to volunteer in hardship conditions, be committed to help the host communities and be the inspiration in action! The most rewarding [experience] is to see all our UN Volunteers in action and promoting their contribution to peace and development.”

Throughout the chat, a number of participants expressed their gratitude and support of UN Peacekeepers’ work. Alimatu Dimonekene in particular said, “Thank you to all our volunteers around the world for your effortless sacrifices in bringing peace and resolution to war-torn countries.”


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