At the Conference

Scheduled Speakers at NY 2024 Session 1

Each year we are privileged to host an array of speakers at our NMUN conferences.
We encourage all delegates, faculty, and guests to take advantage of these unique educational opportunities.
Additional speakers will be added to this page as they are confirmed.

Keynote Speakers

Dennis Francis
Dennis Francis
President of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
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Ambassador Dennis Francis has had a career spanning approximately 40 years in the Diplomatic Service of Trinidad and Tobago. For 18 of those years of unbroken service, he held the rank of ambassador until his compulsory retirement from career service in 2016. According to Mr. Francis, he has the distinction of being his country’s longest-serving ambassador. Before demitting office as Director of Multilateral Relations, he functioned as Senior Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs on all multilateral-level matters, including climate change and the negotiations on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

His transfer back to Port of Spain in 2011 capped Ambassador Francis’ posting as Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Geneva, as well as Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization and to the UN Human Rights Council. He was also accredited concurrently to the U.N. Specialized Agencies in Vienna and Rome, besides having bilateral accreditation as Ambassador to Austria and Italy. Ambassador Francis was also appointed Permanent Delegate to UNESCO.

In 2010 at a period of renewed engagement in Multilateral Trade Negotiations, Ambassador Francis was elected to the sensitive Chairmanship of the Negotiating Group on Rules of the WTO, namely Anti-Dumping, Subsidies and Countervailing Duties and Fisheries Subsidies. He also served as Chairman of the Committee on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights in Regular Session as well as Chairman of the Commonwealth Group of Developing Countries (2007/8).

He has led many national delegations including to the First Universal Periodic Review of Trinidad and Tobago in the UN Human Rights Council in October 2011 and to UNCTAD 12, which was held in Accra, Ghana in 2008.

Ambassador Francis’ assignment in Geneva in 2006 followed a seven-year tour of duty as High Commissioner of Trinidad and Tobago to Jamaica and Permanent Representative to the International Seabed Authority. During this period, Ambassador Francis was also accredited as Ambassador (non-resident) to the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba. When he demitted office in Jamaica, he had held the position of Dean of the Diplomatic Corps for almost two years. Ambassador Francis took an active interest in the issues before the International Seabed Authority, leading to his election to the Chairmanship of the Assembly in 2003.

In July of 2021, he completed a three-year assignment as Chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO.

Ambassador Francis co-facilitated a training course entitled “Protocol and Diplomacy: A Guide for the Modern Professional,” at the Diplomatic Academy of the Caribbean; an institution in the conceptualization of which he was intimately involved as Lead Technical Adviser to the Foreign Minister. In 2018, Ambassador Francis also co-authored a book entitled “Heads of Mission-A Handbook,” which has received regional and international acclaim. In 2020, Ambassador Francis returned to The University of the West Indies, his alma mater, as a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of International Relations at the St. Augustine Campus. He is also a graduate of The School of Advanced International Studies, the Johns Hopkins University in Washington DC. (1985).

Ambassador Francis is married to his best friend, Joy Thomas-Francis and they have three adult sons.


Antje Leendertse
Antje Leendertse
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Nations
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Antje Leendertse was born in Moers (Germany) on 7 March 1963. She is married and has one daughter.

Since 2021 Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Nations in New York

2022 Appointed co-facilitator of the UN's Summit of the Future

2019-2021 State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office

2018 – 2019 Political Director, Federal Foreign Office, Berlin

2017 – 2018 Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Office of the United Nations and to the other international Organizations in Geneva

2015 – 2017 Ambassador, Head of the Task Force for the 2016 OSCE Chairmanship

2014 – 2015 Ambassador, Federal Government Commissioner for Disarmament and Arms Control, Federal Foreign Office

2012 – 2014 Ambassador, Director for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, Federal Foreign Office

2009 – 2012 Head of Division for the Western Balkans, Federal Foreign Office

1990 Entered the Foreign Service

1989 Master’s degree in medieval and modern history, Romance languages, economics and philosophy from the University of Cologne

Neville Gertze
Neville Gertze
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Namibia to the United Nations
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Ambassador Neville M. Gertze has served as the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Namibia since 2016 to date.
Prior to his assignment to New York, he served as the Chief of Protocol to H.E. Dr. Hage G. Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia, from 2015 to 2016. Ambassador Gertze has also served in Germany from 2009 to 2015, and was High Commissioner of Namibia to Malaysia from 2003 to 2008. In October 2022, he was appointed co-facilitator of the UN's Summit of the Future

He has a bachelor’s degree in public administration and political science from the University of Cape Town and a master’s degree in business administration from Midrand Graduate Institute in Johannesburg.

Kehkashan Basu
Kehkashan Basu
Founder-President, Green Hope Foundation
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Kehkashan Basu, M.S.M. is an iconic global influencer, educator, environmentalist, champion of women and children’s rights, TEDx speaker, Climate Reality Mentor, author, musician, peace and sustainability campaigner. She is the recipient of Canada's Meritorious Service Medal and the only Canadian to win the International Children’s Peace Prize. A Forbes 30 Under 30 and the first-ever Winner of the Voices Youth Gorbachev-Schultz Legacy Award for her work on nuclear disarmament, Kehkashan is a United Nations Human Rights Champion, a National Geographic Young Explorer, a UNCCD Land Hero, a UN Habitat Young City Champion, the Regional Organizing Partner for North America for the NGO Major Group and one of Canada's Top25 Women of Influence. Kehkashan is the Founder-President of global social innovation enterprise Green Hope Foundation, that works at a grassroots level in 28 countries, empowering over 500,000 young people and women, especially those from vulnerable communities, in the sustainable development process. She has spoken at over 500 United Nations and other global fora. She is the youngest Trustee of the Parliament of the World's Religions, Co-Lead of UN Women Generation Equality Forum's Action Coalition on Feminist Action for Climate Justice and a member of the World Humanitarian Forum Youth Council. She is the recipient of several awards that include the Gold Stevie Award for Women in Business for Gender Equality, World Literacy Award for Significant Contribution to Literacy by a Young Person, Canada's Global Energy Show Emerging Leader Award and the Pax Christi Toronto Teacher of Peace Award. Kehkashan was named as one of the Top 100 SDG Leaders in the world in 2019. She continues to work tirelessly to amplify the voices of young people, women and girls in decision-making processes. She is currently an MBA Candidate at the Cornell University SC Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Delegate Seminar 1:

Maud Dahme
Maud Dahme
Holocaust Survivor and Education Advocate
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Born in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, Maud Dahme and her sister spent the entire German occupation of her native country in hiding. Together with her parents and sister, she emigrated to the United States in 1950, at first settling in New York City. A passionate advocate of Holocaust education, she has been a member of the New Jersey State Commission on Holocaust Education since 1982. As with most child survivors of the Holocaust, until relatively recently she found it difficult to speak about her years as a hidden child. However, since the mid-1980s, she has overcome her inhibitions and has been a frequent speaker to students about her experiences. Her book, Chocolate, The Taste of Freedom; The Holocaust Memoir of a Hidden Dutch Child, chronicles Dahme’s wartime experiences as well as postwar events in her life.

Ms. Dahme was inducted as an Unsung Hero into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2014. She is a nationally respected leader in the field of education. In addition to having been a long-time member of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, she was a past President of the New Jersey State Board of Education where she served from 1983-2007. She was also a member (chair in 1998) of the Interstate Migrant Education Council until 2007. In 1995, she served as President of the National Association of State Boards of Education. In addition to holding a number of other local and state posts, she was a member of the North Hunterdon Board of Education from 1976 to 1983.

She is a resident of Flemington in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. She has four children, nine grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.

The Holocaust: A Survivor's Journey

Delegates, Head Delegates, Faculty, and Guests without a Mission Briefing at this time are encouraged to attend.

Monday, 25 March, 10:00-11:00 a.m.
3rd Floor Hilton Hotel - Trianon Ballroom

Join us for this interactive session with Maud Dahme, a child survivor of the Holocaust, as she shares some of her experiences both during and after World War 2. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to hear from a Holocaust survivor and education advocate. She is the author of Chocolate, The Taste of Freedom; The Holocaust Memoir of a Hidden Dutch Child. There will be time for Q&A.

Delegate Seminar 2:

Mahmoud Almasri
Mahmoud Almasri
United Nations Human Resources Office
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Mahmoud Almasri is an associate Human Resources Officer who contributes to promoting diversity and inclusion in the United Nations to reflect the multiple perspectives and characteristics of the people it serves. Mahmoud’s work aims to achieve greater geographical representation and improve gender parity throughout engaging in talent outreach activities. He has a Lebanese mother, Syrian father, and Egyptian grandparents. Until now, Mahmoud has had three turning points in his life. The first was in 2012 when he was forced to leave Syria and became a refugee in Lebanon. The second was in 2014 when he received the “Tomorrow’s Leaders” full scholarship at the American University of Beirut granted by U.S. Department of State. With that, he now has a bachelor's in Economics with double minors in Public Administration and Civil Society, Citizenship, and the Nonprofit Sector. Upon graduation, his scholarship program awarded him the “Excellence in Civic Engagement” award in recognition for his initiatives in education in rural areas in Lebanon. The third turning point in Mahmoud’s life was in 2022 when he joined the United Nations in New York through the Young Professional Programme, 2.5 years after he submitted the application. Mahmoud’s current vision is to contribute making the world less unequal mainly throughout education.

Sabiri Aggrey
Sabiri Aggrey
Associate Finance & Budget Officer, United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs (DESA)
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Sabiri is a dedicated finance professional currently serving as an Associate Finance & Budget Officer at the United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs (DESA). His journey into the realm of international finance began with his successful entry into the United Nations (UN) through the prestigious UN Young Professionals Program (YPP) in February 2021. Hailing from South Sudan, Sabiri brings a wealth of expertise and commitment to his role within the organization. Sabiri is a distinguished Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA) with a master's degree in financial management. Sabiri's primary responsibility at the UN is to ensure the effective and efficient utilization of the organization's financial resources. Prior to joining the United Nations Head Quarters (UNHQ), he worked in United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) providing critical support to the various programs within the peace-keeping mission.

Abdul Alrashid
Abdul Alrashid
United Nations’ Risk Management Team
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Mr. Abdul Alrashid, from Saudi Arabia, joined the United Nations’ Risk Management team in 2021 (then under Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, now in Department of Operational Support). As part of his duties, he participated in team’s effort to mitigate the Organization’s risk during the Afghanistan crisis in 2021, Russia/Ukraine war in 2022, and Sudan’s political unrest in 2023. He currently supports the ongoing MINUSMA drawdown from Mali.

Mr. Alrashid holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Seattle University and a master’s degree in finance from Grenoble Ecole de Management. Prior to the UN, he worked as a lecturer teaching corporate finance and insurance to university students. Abdul is fluent in Arabic, French and English.

Mayra Lopes
Mayra Lopes
Global Communications Professional
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Mayra Lopes is an experienced global communications professional with a proven track record of developing and executing comprehensive communication strategies across various channels and platforms. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Mackenzie University in São Paulo, Brazil, and a Master's degree in International Studies as an Erasmus Mundus Scholar from Strasbourg University in France and Deusto University in Spain. Mayra possesses the skill of building relationships with stakeholders, managing complex projects, and adapting messaging to suit diverse audiences.

Fengqi Zhang
Fengqi Zhang
Associate Management and Programme Analyst, Strategic Workforce Planning Section, United Nations Office of Human Resources (OHR)
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Fengqi, from China, is currently an Associate Management and Programme Analyst at the Strategic Workforce Planning Section under OHR after passing the YPP exam in political affairs and human rights. Her prior focus was on technology and innovation in both the private sector and academia.

Career Opportunities at the UN Secretariat
Discovering the YPP: Alumni Voices and Experiences

Delegates, Head Delegates, Faculty, and Guests without a Mission Briefing at this time are encouraged to attend.

Monday, 25 March, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
3rd Floor Hilton Hotel - Mercury Ballroom

The United Nations Secretariat's Office of Human Resources warmly invites you to a special session featuring alumni from the Young Professionals Programme (YPP). This is a unique opportunity to hear directly from individuals who have successfully navigated their way into impactful roles within the UN.

Highlights of the Session:

  • Experiences Shared by YPP Alumni: Learn firsthand about the challenges and successes of securing a position at the UN from YPP alumni hailing from various regions around the globe.
  • Other Entry Points into the UN: Explore briefly the multiple pathways for joining the UN, including direct applications, the JPO Programme, and registration in the UN Global Talent Pool.
  • Live Q&A: Have your questions answered during a live Q&A segment, allowing for a deeper understanding and personal interaction with former YPP participants.

We're waiting to welcome you to this enriching session!

Our YPP alumni are eagerly looking forward to speaking with you, ready to share their invaluable experiences and insights. Don't miss this opportunity to connect and be inspired by their journeys.

Karen J. Vogel Faculty Seminar:

Linda Fasulo
Linda Fasulo
NPR - UN Bureau, Independent Correspondent and Author of "An Insider's Guide to the UN"
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Linda Fasulo is a journalist and author specializing in the UN and US foreign policy. Based at the United Nations, she is a long-time independent correspondent for NPR News. Linda has worked as UN Correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC and as Special UN Correspondent for US News and World Report magazine. A frequent speaker on international issues, she has a Master’s in Public Administration and has also done graduate study in international affairs at Columbia University. Her popular book, An Insider's Guide to the UN, published by Yale University Press, is in its fourth edition. Besides English, various editions of the book have also been published in Chinese and Korean. Linda serves on the Executive Committee of the UN Correspondents Association (UNCA).

An Insider's Guide to the UN

Faculty, Guests, and Head Delegates not assigned to a committee are encouraged to attend.

Tuesday, 26 March, 3:00-4:00 p.m.
2nd Floor, Hilton Hotel - Morgan

Are you interested in better understanding and navigating the complex world of the United Nations? How does the UN work and not work, what are its strengths and weakness, who are the key players and how do things get done? These are some of the issues that will be discussed at this seminar. Join us for this presentation by journalist and author Linda Fasulo. She represents NPR News at the UN as an Independent Correspondent and is author of An Insider's Guide to the UN. There will be time for Q&A.