Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Haydee Britton...Amazing!

Another amazing lady!!!!  Please read the following bio on Haydee Britton.  

United States
Master’s Degree in Education, in TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language)
Spanish, English, French
This year will be my 37th year with the United Nations. I was interested in joining the United Nations because of my love of different cultures and also because of my language abilities. In 1973, I started working as a tour guide in English, French and Spanish, which I found to be a perfect match for my language skills and my degree in education. 

I now work with the General Assembly Affairs Branch of the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management, in New York. I am responsible for the announcement and the scheduling of meetings for the Assembly, as well as the personnel administration of 25 staff members. Until recently, I worked in the Correspondence Unit, editing letters and notes verbales from the Secretary-General’s office in three languages: English, French and Spanish. 

During my time with the United Nations, I also served in three peacekeeping missions: Cambodia, Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In Cambodia I worked on the country’s new draft Constitution. I also took part in the election process as an International Polling Station Officer in Batambang. In Haiti, I was part of the overall United Nations support effort. 

As an election monitor, I became aware of how important it was to have the right to vote. In Cambodia, we had to control massive crowds that wanted to vote. We formed a human chain to hold back the crowds, to keep the process orderly. I then realized what it meant to have the power of the vote, especially since I had left Bogota, Colombia when I was 12 years old and had never voted before, so I became a United States citizen in 2000. 

Although the work can be very demanding, you can see the United Nations does make a difference. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I served with the Child Protection Section, where we coordinated the demobilization of many child soldiers and raised awareness that this practice was unacceptable. We were able to demobilize large numbers of kids with guns and they were reintegrated into society and back into school. 

While in the Congo, I was so touched by the very difficult survival condition of the street children in Kinshasa that we formed a group among ourselves to help these kids. For the last eight years, we have been raising money for schooling, supplies, clothes and medical expenses. The well-being of my kids in the Congo is what inspires me and it is a way to give back to society. Today, we have 37 children in school while four former street children and child soldiers are going to college. 

What I like best about working for the United Nations is that I am in contact and work with people from all corners of the world. We constantly learn from each other and find that one idea can elicit many different points of view, with no one right or wrong answer. It makes me aware of the various possibilities of looking at a particular situation and how diverse communities can solve a problem in different ways. 

If you really want to work for the United Nations, my advice is to study, travel and work abroad and become proficient in a second or third language. Through language you get to learn about other cultures and other people’s ways of thinking. 

I consider it a privilege to work here, but especially in New York City, the place I wanted to live when I first came here more than 37 years ago. 
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