A group of some 20 students from the American University in Rome began their two-day study tour in Montenegro by visiting the United Nations Office. “Some of you might end up working for the United Nations, thus it is a great privilege to host you today”, said UN Resident Coordinator in Montenegro, Rastislav Vrbensky, at the beginning of his lecture.
Students, led by professor James Walston, were briefed about the work of the UN in assisting Montenegro to address its key national priorities and the EU accession process.
“We are basically in the business of providing solutions through cooperation with various partners”, said Vrbensky in his explanation of the nature of the UN’s mandate in the country. “The United Nations has different faces in different countries, depending on the number and diversity of issues. In Montenegro, which is a middle-income-country, the UN presence is quite sizable and specific, dominantly focused on providing a know-how and expertise in the areas of human rights and development”, he added.
Vrbensky presented the work of all UN organisations operating in Montenegro which with a particular focus on joint projects and activities in the framework of the Delivering as One reform. He also highlighted the main areas of work of the UN in Montenegro: Social Inclusion, Democratic Governance and Sustainable Economic Development & Environmental Protection.
“The Delivering as One is about more coherent, coordinated and efficient work of the UN in addressing national priorities and it helps us promote the agenda we advocate for. The concept is incorporated into the Integrated UN Programme 2012-2016, implemented together with the Government of Montenegro”, he explained.
In an active discussion which followed, students showed interest in a number of issues, including what would be the greatest post-conflict challenges in Montenegro, privatisation and reasons for some of its failures and what would be the role of the UN in advocating for democracy in countries which already consider themselves as democratic.
“The presentation was definitely a very thorough explanation of the UN’s involvement in Montenegro and how it affects the national Government and Montenegro’s global role“, said Johannah Durst, a student from USA, at the end of the one hour session with the UN Resident Coordinator in Montenegro.
During the study visit, students of the American University of Rome also met high Montenegrin officials and representatives of the Parliament, and paid visits to headquarters of some opposition parties and non-governmental organisations, such as MANS. Students also visited the old Royal Capital Cetinje and UNESCO world heritage site Kotor. The study tour is a regular item in yearly curriculum of the University, which is organising students’ visits to countries throughout the world for the last decade.