Thursday, June 18th, 2015...10:54 am

MIIS Center for the Blue Economy fellow gets surprise visit from MIIS staff at Nairobi UNEP Headquarters

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IMG_1707On the day of my departure from Nairobi, I ventured to the Gigiri neighborhood of Nairobi to visit the 140 acre United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON). The complex houses over 20 UN offices including the headquarters for the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). Both UNEP and UN-Habitat headquarters were established in Nairobi in the late 1970s.

After you pass through UNON security you are greeted by a beautiful winding walking path lined with international flags ending at life-size bronze elephants and 10 meter high “KaribuUN” letters. The compound offers the chance of observing local wildlife such as red duikers, squirrels, marsh mongoose, vervet monkeys and olive baboons.

As I toured the conference center, I made my way to the new UNEP offices to visit our unsuspecting Center for the Blue Economy Fellow, Emma Tonge, currently serving as an intern on the Marine Litter Project. Emma follows in the footsteps of 2015 CBE fellow, Kelsey Richardson (IEP ’05) whose summer 2014 UNEP Marine Litter Project research is now being used in two published UNEP reports including: “Valuing Plastics: The Business Case for Measuring, Managing and Disclosing Plastic Use in the Consumer Goods Industry” and a second report on the use of microplastics in personal care and cosmetics products. Kelsey is now serving as a MIIS International Professional Service Semester (IPSS) fellow at the Secretariat of Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in Apia, Samoa.

Both fellows are working with Vincent Sweeney, Coordinator of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA).

When I arrived, Emma wasn’t there, but I received a warm welcome from Mr. Sweeney who introduced me to the team and took a panoramic photo that I later sent to Kelsey. Within minutes Emma arrived for my surprise visit. She was a great sport and was more than willing to participate in the obligatory desk shot (see below).

Thanks to Emma and team for making me feel so welcome and sharing what you do!


About the Author: Carolyn Meyer is Director of Immersive Professional Learning and Special Programs in the Graduate School of International Policy and Management. 

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