Humans United


Who works at the UN? How did they get there? What are their hopes and dreams? That’s what I want to try to answer with this month’s theme for my photo project. The monthly theme has really focused my photography and it’s been an interesting ride with only two more months left to complete my year-long project. While October’s theme of taking a photo of (almost) every meal I had was quite inward-looking (and made me change the things I eat), I want November to be outward-looking… and what better theme than to do portraits of people working at the UN and find out a little more about them.

The United Nations is a very large (and bureaucratic) organization founded in 1945 after the Second World War by 51 countries committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights. The UN has 4 main purposes:

  1. To keep peace throughout the world;
  2. To develop friendly relations among nations;
  3. To help nations work together to improve the lives of poor people, to conquer hunger, disease and illiteracy, and to encourage respect for each others rights and freedoms;
  4. To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations to achieve these goals.

As you can see from the above photo taken just outside the gates of the United Nations Office in Geneva, the UN can sometimes seem like a very closed and serious place. Yet at the same time, the staff and people who make up the UN also are very human, passionate, and have altruistic reasons for working for an organization that is known to promote and strive for a peaceful world. Just over one week into the project, what I find most fascinating is how a lot of people got their start in the UN!

Here are a few questions I asked to spark a discussion:

  • What inspires you?
  • How did you join the UN?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • What excites you about working for the UN?

To keep a sense of consistency throughout all the portraits, I’ve kept them black and white. See the photos here –

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