2023 MCC UN Office Student Seminar

2023 Seminar Theme: Peacebuilding: Does the UN matter?

Nov 01 - Nov 03, 2023

Wednesday, November 01
4:00 - 8:00PM EDT

Church Center of the United Nations
777 United Nations Plaza
New York City, NY 10017
United States

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Sunset over the East River and the UN complex, from the view of the MCC UN office in New York City. Sunset over the East River and the UN complex, from the view of the MCC UN office in New York City.

2023 Seminar Theme: Peacebuilding - Does the UN matter?

This seminar is primarily for undergraduate students at Anabaptist colleges and universities in Canada and the U.S. International students are especially encouraged to participate. 

From decades of violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to military rule in Myanmar, to the Russia military invasion of Ukraine, to rising injustice and tensions in Palestine-Israel, to 70 years of a divided Korean peninsula, to US-China superpower battles which can paralyze decisive UN action, what role does – and can – the UN play for better or worse in terms of meaningful action for peace? Through engagement with UN diplomats, UN peacebuilding staff, and grassroots civil society peacemakers, the seminar will provide students an opportunity to look closely at the UN system – its gifts, challenges, and opportunities for authentic peacebuilding.

MCC is serving now, and has for decades, in all the above places of conflict and high tension. And we are present at the United Nations, engaging diplomats and the UN system about these crises. In this three-day seminar, students will:

  • Engage the theme with presenters from the fields of UN diplomacy, international NGO’s, and MCC experts and partners.
  • Learn about and evaluate the UN’s “New Agenda for Peace.”
  • Learn about the work of the UN, about faith-based advocacy, and about calls to reform the UN.
  • Take a tour of the United Nations building and engage with one another within the UN’s dynamic setting in New York City.
  • Engage a mix of plenary sessions and small groups offering high interaction with experts.
  • Connect with and learn from fellow students.
  • Apply learnings to their own context. 

The MCC United Nations office is offering scholarships of $150 and $250 USD to supplement financial support from schools and to help with the cost of travel and lodging. Scholarships will be designated to students who lack sufficient funding from their school to cover the full cost of their travel to and lodging in New York City.

  1. The deadline for students to apply for a scholarship is October 12 at 11 pm eastern time.
  2. Students who apply for a scholarship will be asked to indicate the cost of their travel and lodging, the amount they are receiving from their school (or other support), and a requested scholarship amount.
  3. All students who apply to the seminar, including those who apply for scholarships, once they receive notice of acceptance, will receive a link to register for the seminar and pay the $75 USD seminar fee. Those who were awarded a scholarship will receive their funds after the seminar is over.
  4. As noted above, on October 12 at 11 pm eastern time the scholarship application period will end, and on October 17 we will notify applicants if they received a scholarship, and the amount.

The earlier you apply for the seminar and a scholarship, and if you have a clear need, it is likely you will receive a scholarship.

Participant and application guidelines

Priority will be given to students from Anabaptist-related schools in Canada and the U.S. Applicants must meet the following criteria:  

  • Be an undergraduate or graduate student in a U.S. or Canadian school
  • Have strong interest in issues related to areas such as peacemaking, international relations, Christian nonviolence, the United Nations
  • Commit to full participation in the seminar and all its activities

Location: The seminar will be held in New York City at the Church Center of the United Nations, across the street from the UN building. The address is 777 United Nations Plaza, New York, New York 10017. The MCC UN Office is located in the building.

Schedule: The seminar begins with registration at 4 p.m. on Wednesday November 1, and ends with lunch on Friday November 3. 

View the full schedule below.

Application deadline: October 13, 2023.  

Application: Fill out the application form below.

Seminar fee: $75 USD from accepted participants.  

Application process: After applying you will receive a confirmation email. Spots are limited and applications will be accepted on a first-come first-serve basis. If your application is approved, you will receive instructions about how to register and pay the $75 USD seminar payment.  

Lodging: Participants arrange their own lodging in New York City during the seminar. A list of affordable options is here: 


Scholarships: Students should contact their school to see if there are any scholarship possibilities.  Students also have the option to apply below for a scholarship through the MCC UN office.

Confirmed Presenters: 

Dr. Mulanda Jimmy Juma is from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) and serves as MCC representative for DR Congo. He holds a doctoral degree (PhD) in Politics, Human Rights and Sustainability from Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Italy, and a master's degree in Peace Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He is the former Coordinator of the Dag Hammarskjöld Center for Peace, Good Governance and Human Rights in Zambia, and former Coordinator of Africa Peacebuilding Insitute. Mulanda has introduced many practical peace initiatives in Africa, including peace clubs in Zambia and Women's Situation Rooms in Congo. He has also led the development of many peace studies curricula in Africa.

Hailing from South Dakota, Faith Kroeker-Maus is a U.S. Foreign Service Officer currently serving as an economic advisor at the U.S. Mission to the UN (USUN). Faith served with the State Department in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Montreal, Quebec, and the State Department 24/7 Emergency Operations Center in Washington DC. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Faith worked at the FBI, the Infectious Diseases Institute in Kampala, Uganda, and the Salvation Army in London, UK. She holds a bachelor's degree from Bethel University in Saint Paul, MN and a master's from the University of Denver. Faith speaks French and Haitian Creole. 

Hyacinth Stevens works for MCC East Coast as the Regional Executive Director. She is a New York City Bishop Oversight Team member serving as a Bishop, and has served the church as a pastor, teacher, mentor, and program developer. A wife and mother of four children, Hyacinth has served over a decade on various organizations and denomination boards. A hallmark for Hyacinth is a commitment to the ministry of reconciliation and working with congregations and faith-based organizations to implement biblically based models for intercultural development. Hyacinth holds a Bachelor of Science in Education and Bible, a Master of Administration, and a Masters of Public Affairs. Hyacinth will b eleading worship during the seminar. 

David Kroeker-Maus is currently a Senior Research Associate at the Rights and Resources Initiative, a global coalition of over 150 organizations dedicated to advancing the forest, land and resource rights of Indigenous Peoples, Afro-descendant Peoples, local communities, and the women within them. He has previously worked at the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies at George Washington University, and at Bread for the World, a faith-based, anti-hunger advocacy organization. He holds an MA in Environment and Development from King's College London, and a BA in International Relations from Bethel University. David speaks French, Haitian Creole, and Spanish.

Born in Kenya, Dr. Roselyn Akombe has worked as a teacher, civil society activist and managed national elections. After completing her studies at the University of Nairobi, Roselyn worked for the Collaborative Center for Gender and Development before moving to the United States in 2000 for graduate studies at Rutgers University. During that period, she worked with the Women Rising Inc, the African Union, and the United Nations. She returned to Kenya in 2017 to serve as a Commissioner with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. Dr. Akombe has served in various roles at the UN since 2006, including in Burundi as a Senior Electoral Affairs Officer. In addition to leading various flagship programs such as the Joint UNDP-DPPA Program for Building National Capacities for Conflict Prevention, she was involved in establishing several of the UN missions including in Libya, Somalia, Syria, Great Lakes, West Africa, Central Africa, among others. Dr. Akombe currently serves as the Chief of Peacebuilding Strategy and Partnerships at the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs.

Wawa Chege was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and came to the United States to study Political Science (International Relations emphasis) at Seattle Pacific University. After graduation, he married his wife Kristen and moved to Cairo, Egypt to work as a Refugee Legal Assistant, helping guide and advise asylum seekers, as well as received his Master's Degree in International Human Rights Law. He first served with MCC from 2011-2014 as a Policy Analyst and Advocacy Coordinator in Haiti. He moved back to Kenya in 2014 to work as the Deputy Director of Operations for Brackenhurst, a Baptist-related company in Limuru, just outside of Nairobi. In February 2020, he rejoined MCC as the East Africa and Sahel Co-Area Director in the region. Together with his wife Kristen, they oversee MCC operations in six country programs, including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Burkina Faso, and Chad.

Gay Rosenblum-Kumar is a peacebuilding practitioner who has been working for and around the UN since the 1980's. After a dozen years of anti-apartheid work, she spent two years as a UN Peace Observer in South Africa in the run up to the election of Nelson Mandela (1992-92). She spent the next two decades at UN Headquarters developing the UN's Programme on Building National Capacities for Conflict Prevention and the UN Peace and Development Advisor (PDA) cadre. Gay now serves as the UN representative for two peacebuilding NGOs - Nonviolent Peaceforce and Peace Direct - and advocates for unarmed civil protection, building peace side by side with local communities, amplifying the voices of local peacebuilders, and for systemic change in how peace operations, POC, conflict prevention, and peacebuilding are done. She is on the board of the New York Peace Institute and the Free Yezidi Foundation. She is also the mother of two fabulous young people who are contributing to the world in their own unique ways.

Kadi Doumbia currently serves as the Second Secretary for Political Affairs at the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations. She studied economic history and development, gender science and social anthropology at the University of Stockholm, and theology at Stockholm Human Rights. She received her law degree from the University of Stockholm. Previously, she has worked as a case manager for international law at Amnesty International, a lawyer at Joakim Johanssons law firm, and a Desk Officer at Sweden's Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Gustaf Salomonsson is the First Secretary for Political Affairs at the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations. Previously, he has served during Sweden's presidency of the European Union in 2023, the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang, North Korea, and the Africa Department at Sweden's Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Chris Rice, the seminar facilitator, has served as Director of the MCC UN Office since 2019. From 2014-2019, Chris and his wife Donna served as MCC Co-Representatives for Northeast Asia, based in South Korea. This included regional peacebuilding work and Chris leading six MCC teams on humanitarian visits into North Korea. Prior to MCC, Chris served 10 years as cofounding director of the Duke Divinity School Center for Reconciliation. His three books include Reconciling All Things: A Christian Vision for Justice, Peace, and Healing. His new book, From Pandemic to Renewal, was published by InterVarsity Press in spring 2023. 



More information:

For more information about this seminar, please e-mail Victoria Alexander at the MCC UN Office VictoriaAlexander@mcc.org


Schedule of the student seminar at the MCC UN office

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Please note: Scholarships will be designated to students who lack sufficient funding from their school to cover the full cost of their travel to and lodging in New York City. Scholarships will either be in the amount of $150 or $250 USD and will be distributed as a reimbursement at the conclusion of the seminar. The deadline for students to apply for a scholarship is October 12 at 11 pm eastern time.