Tanya De Mello – Community Builder. Humanitarian. Mobilizer
Whenever people find out that I have worked in the United Nations and I have worked in war-torn countries, with refugees all over the world, the first question they want to know is: “How did you end up at the UN? Tell me how to get there. I am dying to get there, just give me a tip.”
So that is what I am here to talk about to you today. Not exactly how to end up at the UN, but how you can end up doing what you were meant to do, what you want to do, and what you should be doing. But before I can answer that, when people ask me how I ended up at the UN, I need to tell them why I ended up there, why I do the work that I do, why I want to work with people in emergency and in devastating situations.
So I start with this story: when I was a little kid, my mother took my brother and I to a musical. Our family didn’t have a lot of money, so this was a really big deal. It was “Les Misérables.” And I remember the costumes, the singing, and the theater. It was the most exciting night of my life. My brother and I were like little kids on Christmas Eve: we were giggling, singing, and fidgeting in our seats. I remember that, at the end of the night, it was a really cold January night, we sort of giddily darted off to our car to get in to go home. And we turned around, and my mom was just sauntering across the parking lot nice and slowly.