Hear from some of the Mobility Ambassadors
Frederick Russell-Rivoallan, Head of Social and Human Sciences in UNESCO Beijing Office.
Prior to being posted to the field, Russ worked for 21 years at Headquarters. He began his career in the Office of the Director-General, working for the Culture of Peace Programme, then to the Bureau of Strategic Planning as Focal Point for the Human and Social Sciences Sector and Chief of the Executive Office in the Sector for External Relations and Public Information.
“I’m quickly learning the reality of working away from Headquarters. It’s actually quite liberating, as I get to have concrete responsibilities relative to implementation of programme – which means working alongside partners in the National Commission and with whom we work.
I think mobility is a vital condition for working in an intergovernmental organization. A successful mobility policy needs to look holistically at organizational needs and staff aspirations, and which matches these needs with colleagues’ expectations, based on their competencies.”
Elspeth McOmish, Programme Specialist in the Gender Division at Headquarters.
Elspeth worked in the Education Sector at Headquarters for approximately 8 years, before moving to Santiago Office, where she spent two years as an Education Programme Specialist. She recently returned to Headquarters after being appointed to a post in the Gender Division.
“My experience in the field office really helped to develop my skills. Programme staff in the field are given a lot more responsibility than staff at the equivalent grade at Headquarters, so I gained confidence and a certain level of autonomy. It was also very stimulating to work with regional and national partners and to realize how important UNESCO was to them. Now that I have returned to Headquarters, my experience in Santiago has really helped me to have a better understanding of our Organization’s actions and impact.”
Jun Morohashi, Executive Officer and Regional Programme Coordinator, Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in UNESCO Bangkok Office
Jun started her journey at UNESCO with Social and Human Sciences Sector at Headquarters as a Junior Professional Officer from Japan. Before arriving in Bangkok, she was the Head of Education Unit at UNESCO Port-au-Prince in Haiti and a Programme Specialist in the Education Sector at Headquarters in Paris.
“When I moved to Haiti after having spent 15 years at Headquarters, I acquired a new responsibility of overseeing UNESCO’s work throughout the whole Education Sector. Through this experience, I also came to closely collaborate with other UN agencies and international/bilateral development partners to complement each other’s strength to best support the country in its needs and priorities. This experience in Haiti turns out to be very helpful for my current function as Head of Executive Office and Regional Programme Coordinator in Bangkok.”
Dilcia Martinez, Finance and Administrative officer in UNESCO Maputo Office
Before moving to Maputo, Dilcia was the Finance and Administrative Officer in the UNESCO Quito Office in Ecuador.
“The diversity of each of the offices that I have had the opportunity to work in, is precious. Furthermore, the idiosyncrasy of each country, although, in theory the work is the same, in practice the approach to the work has to be adapted because of these differences.
In terms of challenges, the adaptation process can be a challenge, also due to language differences, I am a Spanish native speaker and some people may think that Portuguese would come easily to me, but this is not true!! I’m pleased to say I survive here by speaking portunol-a combination of Spanish and Portuguese!”
Danilo Padilla, Chief of Education Unit at UNESCO Kabul Office
Danilo began his UNESCO career at Headquarters, in different sectors/bureaus. Before moving to UNESCO Kabul Office, he was Executive Assistant and Programme Planning Officer at UNESCO Bangkok Office and then as Regional Coordinator, Education for Sustainable Development.
“Moving from one sector to another at Headquarters helped me better understand UNESCO’s founding vision to build peace through international cooperation in education, science and culture, while moving from Headquarters to the Regional Bureau provided an opportunity to work with and help Member States achieve their own sustainable development goals through education. However, moving to UNESCO Kabul Office was the most rewarding as well as challenging experience of all. Rewarding because I get to see the results of our programmes and activities in the country through regular interactions with beneficiaries and other stakeholders, but equally challenging due to political instability and prevailing insecurity in the country that make programme delivery extremely difficult. On the upside, this situation often results in better relations, improved coordination and closer cooperation amongst stakeholders - the very essence of delivering as one!”