What does it take to be a United Nations worker in some of the world’s most difficult and dangerous locations? How are health workers, humanitarians and peacekeepers racing to protect the most vulnerable populations from the threat of the COVID-19 virus? Stationed in remote locations and far from family, how are they coping themselves? To find out, Melissa Fleming, UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, meets them.
Here you will discover extraordinary personal stories from people who devote their lives to helping others.
I get very calm in chaos - Richard Ragan
My guest is Richard Ragan, the Country Director of the World Food Programme in Bangladesh. Richard says a sense of adventure drew him to working for the UN, and his career has taken him all over the globe - including to North Korea, and to Liberia for the emergency response to Ebola. A keen outdoor sportsman, Richard never misses the chance to surf or climb, and has even snowboarded through Pyongyang. Nonetheless, he says it is his responsibility to feed the hungry that keeps him awake at night.
Yasmine Sherif - You Have to Take Action
This week’s guest is Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, which delivers education in humanitarian crises through funding investments for UN agencies and civil society organizations. Yasmine describes herself as a pragmatic idealist, who was taught by her mother not to look for success in life, but to seek to serve. Before her current role Yasmine worked for UNHCR resettling refugees. She says that her mission now is crucial to helping people overcome crises and rebuild their lives.
All you have to do is your best - Martin Griffiths
This week's guest is Martin Griffiths, the Secretary General's Special Envoy for Yemen, a country that’s been devastated by civil war. Martin’s job is to try to keep open routes to negotiation between the warring parties. He speaks candidly about his struggles with depression, the mental toll humanitarian work can have, and the importance of empathy when mediating between sides in a conflict. "The job of a mediator, I think, is to infuse hope into people, to say there can be a solution to this."
They want to go back home - Filippo Grandi
This week's guest is Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Filippo is recovering from Covid-19, and says it's given him a sense of the fragility of life, especially for refugees and displaced people. Filippo says that feeling motivates him in his work, and his constant concern is to do everything possible to support those in need.
Once There’s Life, There’s Hope - Funmi Balogun
Funmi Balogun is the head of Humanitarian Action at UN Women, supporting some of the world’s most vulnerable women and girls - people who are displaced or refugees. She works to make sure that the humanitarian response does not perpetuate gender inequality. Funmi's upbringing in Nigeria spurred her to fight against gender inequality - it’s something she has experienced in her own community. The rolling back of rights for women across the globe in recent years keeps Funmi awake at night.
The Power of Women to Make Change - Natalia Kanem
Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, is working to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled.
“You really see… how important it is to have peace in the home and the ability for girl child in particular to be able to scream at the top of her lungs if she feels that something wrong is happening to her.”
Customer ReviewsSee All
I fall in love with each topic
With the great questions and common thread of creating a better world, Melissa Fleming invites us into intimate conversations with the worlds most actionable and compassionate people. I get excited every time a new episode comes out!
AWAKE AT NIGHT unveils the most powerful, inspiring, and touching face of the U.N.
I love it!
The stories you hear on the Awake At Night podcast keep me awake at night, in a good way. As a former UN employee, I identified with many of the stories from these amazing people. Keep up the impactful work and bravo!