The Higher Education Alliance (HEA) of the Humpty Dumpty Institute and the Global Partnerships Forum collaborated with Muhlenberg College in organizing a virtual presentation by Mr. Robert Skinner, Director at the United Nations Information Center, Washington, D.C. on Friday, May 7, 2021.
Mr. Skinner discussed the importance of the work of the United Nations and how it can contribute to U.S. foreign policy goals. The students and faculty were given an overview of the United Nations. Mr. Skinner explained the history of the UN and how its founding and central principle serve to prevent war. He further discussed the current role of UN peacekeeping operations. This is extremely important from the perspective of the United States. If the United Nations were not involved in containing regional conflicts, broader wars could emerge and severely impact U.S. security and interests.
The students were interested in the role of the United Nations in the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to returning to the United Nations Information Center, Mr. Skinner served as a Senior Special Advisor in the UN’s Department of Global Communications, focusing on the UN’s COVID-19 Communications Response Initiative. Mr. Skinner explained how the UN focused on the importance of only sharing accurate COVID-10 information and fighting against vaccine hesitancy. Of particular interest to the students was Mr. Skinner stressing that one of his responsibilities is getting more U.S. citizens employed at the United Nations.
In addition to serving as a Senior Special Advisor in the UN’s Department of Global Communications, Mr. Skinner’s previous UN role was as Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Partnerships where he engaged partners for advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and managed the UN’s relationship with the UN Foundation (UNF), oversaw the administration of the UN Democracy Fund, and directed the SDG Advocates and the SDG Strategy Hub.
Prior to joining the United Nations, Robert Skinner was the Executive Director in the New York Office of the United Nations Foundation where he managed relations with various UN offices, Permanent Missions to the UN, civil society organizations, and private sector actors; communications and press; and office operations. Before joining the Foundation in 2006, Mr. Skinner held several positions in the United States Department of State, including as Deputy Spokesperson at the United States Mission to the United Nations in New York, and as Public Affairs Officer for the United States Embassy in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. He also held posts in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire and San Salvador, El Salvador.
The Higher Education Alliance (HEA) is a program jointly operated by the Humpty Dumpty Institute and the Global Partnerships Forum. Its mission is to bring U.N. and international-focused programs to campuses throughout the United States.