News / Africa

UN Under-Secretary General Discusses Career of Public Service

Under Secretary-General Tegegnework Gettu (right) and John Ashe, (left) the president of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly, listen to Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s address on January 28, 2013.
Under Secretary-General Tegegnework Gettu (right) and John Ashe, (left) the president of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly, listen to Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s address on January 28, 2013.
Ashenafi Abedje
Tegegnework Gettu hails from Ethiopia. Since March of 2013, he has served as United Nations Under-Secretary General for General Assembly Affairs and Conference. The UN official says his first year as Under-Secretary-General was productive.

“I just finished my 10-month report to the Secretary General and he seems to be happy. I had six priorities, all of them addressed during my first year. So overall, it was very challenging, but I think I managed to do very well,” he says.

The six priorities included managing last year’s General Assembly session, reorganizing the department, promoting integrated global management, accelerated implementation of technological innovations, and work-sharing with offices in Geneva, New York, Nairobi and Vienna.
 
Public Service
 
The UN official says public service is something he grew into as his career evolved.

“Getting trained in development administration and management skills and practically using it - in academics, international organizations and government - I managed to get exposure that progressively attracted me to it,” he explains.
 
The interview with the UN's Tegegnework Gettu
The interview with the UN's Tegegnework Gettui
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X


He says he has benefited greatly from the opportunities afforded him and from his long years of public service.
 
Symbolism

Tegegnework is one of a handful of Africans to have held the post of Under-Secretary General – an experience he says he finds humbling.

“As an African, I feel proud I was given this chance,” he says. “I have the double responsibility as an African to make sure that I succeed in this. It also shows that Africans are quite capable of competing and (performing) this kind of a job, and that more opportunities have to be opened up for more Africans.”

Stereotype

Some view UN officials as people who live cushioned lives and are detached from the realities of the world.  Tegegnework considers such portrayals as inaccurate.

“The UN is not a monolithic organization; it has structural limitations and bureaucratic weaknesses,” he notes. “But it has played a very critical role in many parts of the world, and quite a large number of (UN) people have sacrificed their lives. So to reach such a conclusion is unfair.”

Tegegnework says despite the wear and tear, the UN has served the world well the past 68 years – especially the poor, refugees and the dispossessed.

Africa

The Ethiopian-born international diplomat has served with the world body for years – especially on issues that pertain to Africa. So how does he assess the continent’s status today – some 50 years after independence? Tegegnework sees a mixed picture with a promising outlook.

“We have lost decades of conflict, lost decades of dictatorships and lost decades of unaccountability in Africa,” he laments. “But the past few years, Africa has been making progress. The continent needs to focus now on continuing economic growth – not only from the service sector, but in the industrialization in agriculture and the creation jobs for the large youth population that is the majority in Africa today.”

Tegegnework says while economic development should not be held hostage to political issues, both democratic governance and economic growth are critical to Africa’s future.
“Economic progress, one way or the other, must be done in Africa because we have good natural endowment and huge labor force. But democratic institutions, accountable government and economic development are critical for Africa now,” stresses the Under-Secretary General.”

The UN diplomat says Africans need to move “from a survival to a stability mode, and on to a successful model mode.” That, he says, will lead Africa to become “significant” in global affairs.
 
Tegegnework is married and has two children.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ameyu Etana from: Addis Ababa
June 14, 2014 12:23 PM
Nice to hear from you mr. Tegegnework Gettu. As you noted, we do not have to blame UN as it is but others, who make it speak for few as if it is there merely for them.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid