21 Feb 2016
Peter Hulényi, Slovak Ambassador to Israel
I am a bit younger than UNDP. 31 days younger, to be precise.
But I enjoy the idea of celebrating this half-century together. Not because we belong to the same generation, but because I have spent almost half of my career working with or for this UN agency. So allow me to be more personal as I recall three memories.
Act 1: Giving a hand to an ugly duckling
Year: 1996, Place: UN Headquarters in New York
Completing my first diplomatic steps as I joined the Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I found myself representing Slovakia at the UNDP Steering Committee in New York.
Frankly speaking, Slovakia was not in the best shape at that time. The country was economically and politically lagging behind the region, earning its nickname as the “black hole of Europe”.
My mission, received with mixed reactions, was to present a proposal to establish a UNDP Center in the Slovak capital, Bratislava. Why move UNDP to a country with democratic deficits, many delegations asked. “Exactly because of that”, said the then Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS. …