NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 10 – “Unpaid is unseen”, unremunerated means invisible. This is the meaning of the shoes positioned under the portraits of United Nation Secretary Generals in the visitors lobby. Empty shoes like the wallet of UN Interns who brought inside the Headquarters the global protest of the first International Interns Day.
After the case of New Zealander David Hyde, who at the end of August broke the news with his story as UN intern by day and camper in a Geneva park by night, UN interns in New York insisted on the request of a fair retribution, as a means to allow deserving young people from all socio-economic background to undertake an internship at the Organization. “For those who cannot afford it”, is written on a A4 sheet.
The flash mob had started outside the UN Headquarters, outside the gate on First Avenue and 46th street. Due to the bad weather, the group moved to the visitors lobby. They had not requested a permit for the demonstration, which caused some problems with the security, who dispersed the protesters.
The flash mob, which lasted some minutes, was followed in the evening by a panel discussion on the role and the prospects of young people at the UN. The meeting was attended by Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth Ahmad Alhendawi, Bettina Hasel from UNICEF New Talent Team, Elizabeth Niland from the UN Focal Point on Youth, president of Staff Unions and Associations Ian Richards as well as representatives of the Examinations and Tests center, Junior Professional Officers (JPOs) and consultants. It represented an occasion to discuss personal experiences and access to entry-level positions, answering the questions of the participating interns.
Associations InternsGoPro and European Youth Forum created the global event of the International Intern’s Day. Initiatives took place from Australia to the US, passing through Belgium. In Italy, Repubblica degli Stagisti organized an event in Trento, also focused around the theme of the empty shoes. (AS, November 11, 2015).