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A Rare Honor: IRGA Student Gives a Speech at UN General Assembly

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A Rare Honor: IRGA Student Gives a Speech at UN General Assembly

A Rare Honor:

IRGA Student Gives a Speech at UN General Assembly

It’s one thing for you to stand before your teacher and classmates to give a Powerpoint presentation, but it’s an entirely different thing to stand before a (rather huge) roomful of diplomats and deliver a speech.

Ms. Pinda “Tomtam” Viriyapongsri, a 3rd year International Relations and Global Affairs student exactly did just that when she and a fellow student from another university traveled to New York City on September 24, 2022 to deliver a speech before the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) Third Committee in time for the 77th Session of the UNGA. Yes, that United Nations.

 It wasn’t as simple as packing up your bags and rush to the airport though. Pinda over the years has been familiar with the UN, its overall goals and its various organizations and their proceedings. She has been through numerous Model United Nations (MUN) conferences and in fact is the current President of MUIC’s MUN Club. She also volunteered to be a translator as a part of the United Nations Volunteer Online Program and has visited the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) among others.

To join this once-in-a-lifetime experience, Pinda had the full support of MUIC and the Social Science Division under Dr. William J. Jones, the current Division Chair, and his predecessor, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Douglas Rhein, who also happen to be her professors. After being informed of the upcoming UN event, Pinda submitted her curriculum vitae and cover letter to her two professors who then passed it on to the Department of International Organizations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for consideration.

She described what happened next: “In the first round of selection, candidates went through an online interview, in which we were asked about our background, motivation, and general knowledge about the United Nations. From this round, four candidates were selected for further consideration.”


In the second round of selection, the candidates went through two weeks of internship with the Department of International Organizations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “In the first week, I was assigned to intern with the Development Affairs Division. The following week, I was assigned to the Social Affairs Division,” she said. After undergoing apprenticeship for two weeks, only Pinda and one other candidate were appointed as the United Nations Youth Delegates of Thailand to attend the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

She narrated, “I delivered a speech to the Third Committee under the agenda item: Social Development. Essentially, I highlighted the importance of equitable access to education and the role of education in combatting climate change.” The UN General Assembly’s Third Committee deals with human rights, humanitarian affairs and social matters.

It wasn’t an entirely very serious trip, however, as Pinda, in her downtime during the weekends took the time “to explore New York City and network with youth delegates from other countries.”

She went back home to Thailand on October 13, but the experience left a lasting impression on Ms. Pinda. “Reflecting back, I think the two biggest lessons that I learned are: the importance of putting yourself in a position where you can grasp opportunities and the importance of not underestimating yourself. With regard to the first lesson, I think the reason why I was offered this opportunity in the first place is that I kept looking for ways to improve my skills and expose myself to new experiences, opportunities, and ideas. With regard to the second lesson, while I think being humble is crucial, it is even more important not to underestimate yourself – in a way that would undermine your potential. Had I decided that I wasn’t good enough, I would not have applied or had the chance to gain such experience.

Such astute words from someone so young. Ms. Pinda indeed is one of the representatives of the new generation of MUIC students.


If you want to learn more about the International Relations and Global Affairs (IRGA) program of MUIC, please click here:

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