58 episodes

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.

Awake At Night United Nations, Melissa Fleming

    • News
    • 4.9 • 110 Ratings

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 Refuse to Give Up - Selwin Hart

    I Refuse to Give Up - Selwin Hart

    Selwin Hart is one of the top United Nations officials tackling the global climate emergency. He has come a long way from his childhood in a small village in Barbados, where he grew up in a home without electricity. The first person in his family to attend university, Selwin soon found his passion in working to save our planet and refuses to give up.

    • 34 min
    Rays of Hope - Rafael Mariano Grossi

    Rays of Hope - Rafael Mariano Grossi

    Rafael Grossi is Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Working for more than 35 years in the field of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, Rafael shares how a meeting in his twenties with atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima profoundly changed his perspective. He also explains benefits of nuclear technology as he prepares to launch Rays of Hope, an initiative to scale cancer treatment for women across Africa.

    • 34 min
    So Much More that We Can Do to Save Lives Right Now - Maria Van Kerkhove

    So Much More that We Can Do to Save Lives Right Now - Maria Van Kerkhove

    What is a day like in the life of the epidemiologist heading the global response to COVID-19?
    Maria Van Kerkhove is the World Health Organization’s Technical Lead in its response to the pandemic. For almost two years, Maria has worked around the clock with her colleagues to try to keep us all safe. In this episode, she explains the personal costs of her job and why she is more determined than ever that we take the right steps until COVID-19 is finally behind us.

    • 43 min
    They want me to tell their story - David Gressly

    They want me to tell their story - David Gressly

    David Gressly is the UN's Humanitarian Coordinator and Resident Coordinator for Yemen. With more than 20 million people in need of assistance, and the war now in its seventh year, Yemen represents one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. In this eye-opening episode, David shares his concerns about the dire situation and the likelihood of being able to sustain the response in the year ahead.

    • 36 min
    Every trafficking story is a story that can shake you to your core - Ilias Chatzis

    Every trafficking story is a story that can shake you to your core - Ilias Chatzis

    Ilias Chatzis heads the team fighting human trafficking and migrant smuggling at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. In this role he has seen how rates of online exploitation and trafficking have surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this episode, Ilias explains what drives him and why we must learn from history if we are to defeat the traffickers and smugglers.

    • 35 min
    Keep going for the children of Afghanistan - Sam Mort

    Keep going for the children of Afghanistan - Sam Mort

    Sam Mort is UNICEF’s Chief of Communications in Afghanistan. She speaks to Melissa from Kabul, shortly after the country’s takeover by the Taliban. Sam shares her motivation to stay and help Afghan children as the humanitarian situation worsens. She tells stirring stories of loss, bravery and reaching to the stars for hope.

    • 41 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
110 Ratings

110 Ratings

Nazaneen Moayed ,

Inspiring and Enlightening

Melissa I just came across to this podcast few months ago, and I can’t tell enough how inspiring it is!

Learning about how it really is like to be a UN worker, serving in field missions as peacekeepers, aid workers, medical practitioners and ... has greatly and of course in a positive way changed my opinion about the UN which is frequently blamed for not being helpful enough!

Listening to the stories of these UN workers, who literally many times put their own lives, comfort, families and health at the greatest risks, I now know the UN is doing as much as possible to make it easier for many people in poverty, war-torn countries, disease-stricken areas and ... live a better life, though there’s still much to do!

and just to put an end to this long comment 😁, I just want to mention one of my favorite episodes, the interview with Agnes Kalibata.

This quote by Agnes from that episode has since stuck with me: “We don't have a plan B. We only have one plan. Our planet can take care of itself. It will eject us and move on. But is that where we want to be?”

While governments & big corporations are talking about building cities on other planets in the future and stuff, she simply drags our attention to the present reality!
Thanks for sharing these inspiring stories with us!

Indu C ,

I listen to this before I sleep...

And I lie awake as well, in awe and inspired by the stories shared on this podcast. Thank you for bringing this unique podcast to the airwaves, it’s really important and humbling to hear the work of the people of the UN.

Meredith ( 3rd daughter) ,

Not the whole truth

There is a block known as Block 13 in Kakuma Kenya where they aren't being taken care of and they aren't safe. Block 13 is full of LGBTQ+ refugees that came to that camp for safety from their country of Uganda. But how can they be safe in a refugee camp where all the other refugees and workers are homophobes who don't care about the lives of the LGBTQ+ Ugandan refugees. With the terrible things they do to these innocent souls I am surprised they are able to sleep well at night. The people who work for UNHCR needs better workers who listen to the NEEDS of everyone instead of the workers' homophobic ways.

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