Fight against transphobia and homophobia highlighted in Vienna

Vienna UNIS

Eurovision song contest winner Conchita Wurst got most of the headlines at a special event in Vienna on 3 November highlighting the need for for respect and tolerance for everyone, but a staff member, pictured above, also got an important shout out.

“I am proud to champion the cause of equality for all members of our human family no matter who they are or whom they love. I am resolved to lead by example, so this year I extended benefits to same sex partners of UN staff members,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said welcoming Hilda-Olivia Sarkissian, the first staff member in Vienna to receive full marital recognition for her family under the new policy.

Ms. Sarikssian, who works for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, was legally married in Canada in 2007 and her children were born in 2011.

“Her twin daughters deserve just as much love as all children, and I’m so glad she got her rightful leave to be with them after they were born,” he added. “I will continue to fight against transphobia and homophobia. I will stand strong for equality. I hope all of you join our global Free & Equal campaign.”

“Discrimination has no place in the United Nations, nor in the world of the 21st Century,” United Nations  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the event  showing his support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex community.

Conchita sang her winning 2014 Eurovision song “Rise like a Phoenix” and also “Believe” in front of a packed audience at the Vienna International Centre.

You can watch the whole event here:

Chance of a lifetime: competing for glory, fighting for a cause


Chance of a Lifetime is not your run-of-the-mill competition-based TV show. Yes, it features talented people competing under extreme pressure, all vying for victory. But here, it is also for a higher purpose.

A diverse pool of twelve talented young documentary filmmakers from India, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates compete to make the best short films that highlight some of the most pressing issues on the United Nations’ agenda. For these young filmmakers, it is truly the Chance of a Lifetime to show their stuff on a global scale.

Check out this trailer:


After arriving in the bustling metropolis of Chennai in India, the contestants form teams to face off in a series of elimination challenges. Armed with issue briefs provided by the UN, the teams set off to make mini-documentaries on subjects such as access to water, HIV/AIDS, migration, hunger and poverty, and universal primary education. Continue reading