United Nations NYC

I read the memo wrong! Consequently, yesterday morning I was 12th in line at the gates of the UN, waiting for the official start of the 57th Commission on the Status of Women.

Don’t get me wrong. I was happy to sit on the marble wall for an hour and a half practicing my Spanish with a wonderful woman for Medellin, Columbia. I met lots of interesting women from around the world, all of us eager to get started, anxiously trying to take it all in.

What happens when over 6,000 enthusiastic women flood the UN General Assembly lobby? Chaos! Security screening. Searching for the right line to collect secondary passes. Filing past dozens of tables to collect side event tickets. Racing for the North Lawn Building where official UN Panel Discussions are held. Reading walls of TV screens in hallways checking for last minute schedule changes and room assignments.

And what happens when you finally find your room? Locating your seat. Collecting handout materials. Finding your language channel on the translation system. And again … trying to take it all in. 

Karen Baldwin, Sizani Ngubane

I’m enjoying my time with Sizani Ngubane, Executive Director of the Rural Women’s Movement of South Africa. She’s amazing. Having been in this international arena for over 20 years, I’m thrilled to have her as a mentor. Every time we turn around she’s approached by a woman she’s worked with previously in Australia, Canada, Holland, Ethiopia … to name only a few. Her expertise as a leader in promoting progress for rural women in developing countries is respected and sought after. 

The schedule of events here at CSW – both on and off the UN Campus – is intense. There are literally hundreds of Parallel Events taking place every day in different locations along Embassy Row. Choosing one over the other is tough.

If I look tired – I am! Yesterday I was content to limit myself to the North Lawn Building, my heart and mind a swirl simply with the reality of being here as Ambassador for the Rural Women’s Movement of South Africa.

As I settle in, I’ll venture further into this astounding environment of women working together to create better lives for other women!