United Nations Fellowship New York great success

16 March 2024
12 students mainly from Hillsdale College had a terrific week at CCI United Nations Fellowship New York. Because of increasing progressive dominance at #CSW68 (Commission on the Status of Women), CCI helped organize a really women and family friendly conference #CSWF (Conference on the State of Women and Family) concentrating on the State, not Status of them.
UN Fellowship group

Read the article 'STUDENTS ATTEND UNITED NATIONS SUMMIT' on the Hillsdale Collegian:

Reports on CCI United Nation Fellowship, March 11-16, 2024

The students were asked the following: Please explain your thoughts on the UN, why conservatives should or should not be involved, what you have learned, and how this experience helped shape you. What should other young conservatives know about the UN?

Read here their stories:

Theodore Madrid

The experience of the United Nations Fellowship on the one hand verified my pre-existing concerns about the UN and skepticism regarding the legitimacy of its activities and on the other hand gave me an entirely new appreciation for the work being done there to advance Christian principles on the world stage by organizations like Christian Council International. Seeing CCI and other organizations so ardently and capably counteract the most harmful efforts of the ideological progressive elements of the UN gave me a newfound appreciation and optimism. I would hope that more conservatives are able to understand the work being done and to join in where possible to support and encourage it.

The UN is overwhelmed by radical progressive ideology and operates under an agenda inimical to the principles for which many conservatives stand. So called ‘comprehensive sexuality education,’ abortion, and transgenderism– to name a few – are among the most central concerns of the UN which they seek to proliferate wherever possible. This is all too often done in a manner which is deceptive and even outright manipulative. The developing world especially suffers under this exportation of ideology. This leads many conservatives to discount the organization and its related entities tout court. Since it is so far gone as to be nothing but harmful to the conservative cause, shouldn’t we simply ignore the UN? Relatable as this sentiment is, the fact remains that the UN exercises immense influence all across the world and has very concrete impact both in the developing world and in countries like the US. The cost of turning a blind eye to this is surely grave.

Those few who refuse to ignore the gravity of the situation and rather sacrifice their time and talent to represent conservative Christian principles at the UN are commendable for filling in the gap and engaging in the political process where there seems to be the least reason for optimism and the greatest threat of being simply overwhelmed by opposition. It was a privilege for me to gain a closer experience and understanding of the work they are doing and the real positive impact they are having.

This last point is the one which struck me the most during this Fellowship. Conservatives are doing real work at the UN and it has an impact. Though the circumstances are far from perfect and the ultimate goals we share may not be immediately realizable in this context, there is work to be done. I suggest that we celebrate that work and support it in whatever way we are able.

Shakira Jackson

The United Nations (UN) serves as a vital platform for global cooperation, providing a forum for nations to address pressing issues like climate change, poverty, and conflict. As a young Christian conservative, my involvement with the UN has been eye-opening and educational, challenging my perspectives and broadening my understanding of international affairs.

Conservatives should be involved in the UN for several reasons. Firstly, it offers a unique opportunity to promote conservative principles on a global scale, such as sovereignty, free markets, and individual rights. Engaging with the UN allows conservatives to advocate for policies that advance these principles, shaping global discussions and outcomes.

The UN provides a platform to address important issues that directly impact conservative values, such as national security and economic development. By participating in UN discussions and negotiations, conservatives can ensure that these issues are addressed in a manner that aligns with their values and priorities.

My experience with this fellowship at the UN has taught me the importance of dialogue and diplomacy in addressing complex global challenges. I have learned that effective diplomacy requires patience, persistence, and a willingness to listen to diverse perspectives. These skills are invaluable for anyone seeking to make a difference in the world, regardless of their political beliefs.

Furthermore, my involvement with the UN has helped me appreciate the interconnectedness of the world and the need for cooperation among nations. While conservatives may have legitimate concerns about the UN's effectiveness and accountability, I believe that engagement and reform from within are more productive than isolationism.

To other young conservatives, I would emphasize the importance of being informed and engaged on international issues. The UN plays a significant role in shaping global policies that can impact the United States and its allies. By participating in UN activities, this fellowship, and discussions, young conservatives can ensure that their voices are heard and their values are represented on the world stage.

The United Nations (UN) stands as a beacon of hope for global cooperation, offering a platform where nations come together to tackle the world's most pressing challenges. Conservatives should embrace the UN as a forum to champion their values on a global scale. It provides a unique opportunity to advocate for principles like national sovereignty, free markets, and individual liberties, shaping global policies that align with conservative ideals. By engaging with the UN, conservatives can ensure that their voices are heard in discussions that impact the world's future.

To my fellow young conservatives, I urge you to seize the opportunity to engage with the UN. It is a platform where your voices can make a difference, shaping global policies in line with conservative values. By being informed, proactive, and engaged, we can ensure that conservative principles are at the forefront of global decision-making, paving the way for a more prosperous and secure future for all.

My experience with the UN has been a defining chapter in my life, shaping my views on international affairs and the role of the United States in the world. While the UN may not be perfect, it remains a vital forum for global cooperation, offering a platform where nations can come together to address common challenges. As young conservatives, we have a responsibility to engage with the UN, ensuring that our values and priorities are represented on the global stage.

Mateo Guillamont

I am deeply grateful for the invaluable experience I gained through the United Nations Fellowship organized by Christian Council International. The fellowship provided me with an insider perspective on the mechanisms and structure of the United Nations (UN), allowing me to delve into the complexities of international politics in a profoundly enriching manner.

Throughout the week, the speakers, panels, and events hosted or co-hosted by the CCI were intellectually stimulating. Each session provided unique insight into the current international problems surrounding women’s rights and the family. I particularly commend CCI staff for their work. Their unwavering commitment to placing God at the center of their work was truly inspiring and added a profound dimension to our discussions.

In the midst of the often hectic and dynamic UN sessions, I found the CCI schedule to be remarkably well-organized and timely, yet flexible enough to accommodate individual preferences. I was impressed by the breadth of viewpoints and the caliber of speakers CCI actively exposed us to. The private audiences with esteemed speakers, including those who typically address large crowds, underscored CCI's respected reputation within international politics. For program participants, the opportunity to directly engage with international policy experts in intimate settings engendered frank conversations and fruitful networking opportunities.

One highlight was the private session with veteran UN bureaucrat Abraham Joseph. His insights into the perspective and beliefs that guide UN officials provided informative context, allowing us to revise and confirm our preconceived notions of the UN. Engaging with credible sources like Mr. Joseph helped bridge the gap between theory and practice, enriching our understanding of intra-UN dynamics.

In conclusion, the experiences, memories, friendships, and knowledge gained through CCI's fellowship will undoubtedly stay with me for the rest of my life. Moreover, this experience has transformed my perception of the UN from an abstract entity to an institution that conservative leaders can effectively harness to pursue policy goals.

I wholeheartedly recommend the CCI fellowship to any individual passionate about global contemporary conservative policy efforts. It is a transformative experience that offers unparalleled insights into the world of international politics.

Thank you once again for this remarkable opportunity.

Mateo Guilllamont

Florida International University, Political Science and Philosophy

Rachel Schroder

Conservatives continually preach on the importance of subsidiarity. According to this principle, social change should stem from the lowest level of authority possible. For example, a father should have more influence over his own family than does his city government, which, in turn, should have more influence over his family than does his state or nation. The rationale is that the closer proximity an authority has with those under its care, the better it will be able to know their needs, take personal interest in solving them, and do so with the least overhead waste. This localized governing structure, while ideal, is paralyzing many well-meaning leaders on the political right from engaging in crucial battles at the international level. Afterall, if subsidiarity is the rule, international politics must be criminal.

We must raise a fresh coalition of young conservative leaders who will commit to defending Christian values in the world we actually live in–one that is ruled by big government. The Christian Council International fellowship, under the leadership of Henk Jan Van Schothorst and Mark den Hollander, did just this when they brought a group of about ten college and graduate students to New York City for a week of international policy education and immersion at the United Nations headquarters. I was lucky enough to be one of these students. The event we attended, the 68th Commission on the Status of Women, focused on “accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective.”

Through attending official proceedings at the UN, round table discussions, and lectures, our group learned about the subtle tactics that powerful nations wield to press their progressive agendas in poor countries. “Gender perspective,” for example, is grammatically vague, which strategically dodges critique. Below the gentle linguistic cover, however, are pages upon pages of radical policies to erase sex differences from child sex curricula in developing nations and across the world, push for the legalization of genital mutilation surgeries on adults and children, and spread an animalistic conception of sexuality by teaching gradeschool children that any and every type of sexual activity is equally moral. Developing nations are pressured to accept the UN’s goals so they can receive much needed-support by rich nations like the U.S.

If we do nothing, this dangerous trend will continue. We need more conservatives to engage in international politics. As students, we can take our first steps by raising our voices at UN meetings during question and answer opportunities, as well as speaking with delegates about the UN’s deceptive legal language when we pass them in the headquarter hallways. Perhaps some of us will become international policy experts, UN lobbyists, delegates, or even diplomats. Christian Council International opened the door.

Malia Thibado

Before I saw the United Nations in person, it always seemed like an unnecessary and non-binding, strictly-legislative body. Though I knew it must serve some purpose, I had never seen any manifestation of UN legislation, whether social or security. Attending side events and the plenary council meeting, I learned of the UN’s sweeping social reforms which they had implemented in multiple countries across all continents. Presented by the UN and its representatives, these reforms—such as pushes for “comprehensive sexual education” and “gender equality”—seemed like steps toward a less exploitative and healthier world. However, the Commission on the Status of Women and Family conference, which was organized and attended by multiple Christian and conservative groups, painted a more graphic picture of these reforms than could be obtained through the deceptively phrased and conflicting ideas presented at CSW 68.

Coming from a conservative college, I experienced a sort of culture-shock at the UN. My fellow conservative Christians and I were clearly in the minority; the UN side events were packed with individuals who clapped and cheered at the speaker’s words, clearly in favor of universalizing health care, exposing children to sexual content for “educational purposes,” and creating exact equality-of-outcome for all ostensibly powerful jobs.

Discourse is the medium for equality. The prevailing ideology pushed by Western European and American countries at the UN did not reflect open-mindedness nor freedom of speech; characteristics which were ironic as these are the UN member-states that tout liberalism the most. Debate feels closed because of the controlled narrative—if you disagree with universalizing health care, you must be hate women, widows, children, and the disabled. The west has firmly established its position and is attempting to force other member-states to conform, an ironic echo of the imperial colonialism that they claim to fight against.

Conservatives cannot disregard the UN. In America we may not overtly see the results of UN intervention, but this is because the U.S. government already proposes and propagates these ideas domestically. Internationally, the battle for women and children’s protections still rages. The UN has undermined the cause, surreptitiously advocating for radical individualism, misandristic inequality, and disregard for the basic family structure. They attempt to shape the future for the younger generations; they need to see those of the younger generations. Young conservatives must remember the fundaments of our principles and seriously consider how despicable the worldly agenda is. If there are so many vocal NGOs on the left, why is the conservative side silent? Diplomats are exposed to the false narrative that virtually everyone is in favor of liberal reforms. They are shielded from lobbying by conservative opposition through the conservative’s dismissive approach to international governing bodies.

By attending the CSW 68 conference, I was exposed to the drastic difference in principles presented by the hosting western countries compared to my own knowledge. I learned the detestable actions the UN has already taken to corrupt the youth of Africa and promote worldwide access to abortion. I learned so much that I am ready to integrate into my future approach to both domestic and international politics: critical thinking, principled approaches, and problem solving.

Bradley Haley

As I walked through the halls of the United Nations Headquarters and sat in on sessions with leaders from around the globe, it was striking how boldly they asserted their beliefs. With sincere conviction they discussed the necessity of expanding access to “reproductive healthcare” and the problems of “unpaid care work.” It was eye opening to see how these global leaders unquestioningly believe in the goodness of abortion and the necessity of having mothers leave the home for the workforce.

Conservatives must wake up to the reality of the battle that is taking place on the global stage. Those who believe in the sacredness of life and support the institution of the family need to appreciate the magnitude of the forces that we are up against. Being at the United Nations further deepened my conviction that the fight for pro-life and pro-family values is not one that will be won through rational argument alone. Those leading the United Nations live out their values. Do we live out our values?

While participating in this fellowship with Christian Council International, our group learned about the extent to which the UN is pushing Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Africa and other developing parts of the world. The European Union, United Nations, and Planned Parenthood are all joining forces to shape the minds and souls of children all across the world. They have a sexual ethic that they are fully committed to and willing to sacrifice for. Do we as conservatives share that conviction about our own ethics?

We also learned about the global push for abortion access. The International Planned Parenthood Foundation is stretching its tentacles all around the globe in order to bring abortion access to every corner of the Earth. The World Health Organization is also deeply intertwined with that effort. Those leading the global push for abortion access have an almost religious reverence for the supposed “human right” to abortion. They have a vision for how humanity ought to be valued and treated. Do we as conservatives have a robust vision for how humanity is best ordered?

This experience at the United Nations taught me more than anything that living out our values is an act of rebellion. If we want to have a chance of winning the global fight for life and for family, it starts with each of us living a life that is centered around those things. The way we live our lives is the greatest form of rebellion against this global push to undermine the family, freedom, and life itself. We certainly need more people like Henk Jan van Schothorst who go directly to the United Nations and other global bodies to advocate for these principles. However, as I interacted with Mr. Schothorst over the course of the fellowship, he said multiple times that he would do what he does if his kids were the only ones on Earth. We need more people Mr. Schothorst who both live out their values and then go and fight to defend them.

Conservatives must be honest about the magnitude of the enemies we face, but we can also take courage in the power of living out our values. At first it is frightening to think that these global powers hate the things we hold dearest. However, the realization that we have powerful enemies gives great significance to our daily lives. Motherhood, protecting innocent life, and providing good education are seemingly ordinary parts of human life, however in the world we live in they are acts of rebellion. We ought to rebel with our lives.

Olivia Hajicek

Before signing up for the United Nations Fellowship, I knew three things about the UN: it was evil, it was influential, and it was out of my control.

I knew UN agendas influenced my state and local politics, but I didn’t think Christians could influence the UN. I focused my attention on Indiana and ignored national and international affairs. I even wrote an article for my Advanced Writing class arguing that conservatives should focus on state and local politics.

When Mark Den Hollander came up to me after that class and said I should apply to the UN Fellowship, I didn’t understand. Hadn’t he just read my argument against wasting our energy on that? When he said I would love it, I wasn’t entirely convinced. Then again, a week in New York was too cool to pass up, and seeing the UN from the inside was the chance of a lifetime.

We were in New York for the 68th Commission on the Status of Women, which would be better named the Commission on the Status of Forcing the UN’s Sexual Agenda on the World. Status: it’s going pretty well. Comprehensive Sexuality Education. Abortion. It was all in the resolution they were considering.

That didn’t surprise me. I knew that was what the UN wanted. What I didn’t know was that most countries represented at CSW68 didn’t want those things. And the UN wanted unanimous consent.

I learned that in spite of the UN’s economic and political power, it often gets its way through deception — or “constructive ambiguity.” Use a word now, define it later. What makes it worse of course is that the resolutions are in English, which is not many of the delegates’ first language.

Yet, if people knew what these resolutions meant, many would oppose them. Saying no would be costly, maybe impossible for some countries, but one dissenting vote could bring the whole thing crashing down. The UN’s power was more precarious than I had imagined. If only people knew the truth.

A few months ago, I would have told you that a Christian organization influencing the UN decisions was impossible, but hearing Mr. Van Schothorst’s stories reminded me that everything is possible with God, and Christ has his ambassadors at the UN too. At the international level, just telling the truth can change the world.


I also realized that God’s children need to care what happens at the UN. The evil agenda they are pushing thrives on lies, and the more people that know the truth, the better.

Since getting back, I’ve been taking every “How was spring break?” as an opportunity to tell my friends what I learned. Yes, the UN is evil. Yes, it is influential. But God is in control, and he is at work — even in the United Nations.

John C. Peluso

As a politically active conservative, attending the Commission on the Status of Women was eye opening. The most controversial cultural issues of our age—inappropriate sexual education, proabortion healthcare, transgender surgeries, eroding parental rights—are being implemented within the international superstructure of the United Nations. This unelected bureaucracy infuses its antichristian and antifamily worldview into ambiguous legal jargon, wraps it in a pleasant bow, and presents it as a gift to the rest of the world. This is colonialism of radical secularism is being promoted and institutionalized right under our noses.

The Christian movement is traditionally skeptical of the role which governments ought to play in practicing faith. In an ideal world we would not need to consider the state at all. Yet, this world is fallen and the freedom to practice publicly, abide by our conscious objections, and teach our children our values are essential to building the Kingdom of God.

The United Nations’ subsidiary organizations believe that your life is something which they have a right (and even obligation) to interfere with. I saw the need to minister to these people and for the church to have ambassadors for Christ in the halls of power.

Apathy and ignorance are how evil wins. It is precisely because there have been generations of Christians, who thought that tolerant nice words in the face of institutionalized evil was sufficient, that we now have international organizations hostile to the Christian foundation of their own values.

We need to step up. We need to show the UN that the church is not weak and retreating but vigorous and valiant. Most of the world believes in family values and rejects what this bureaucracy is trying to sneak into law. We must alter their false perception of consensus.

In this battle of language, the only sure way to lose is to be silent. Anyone, especially young people and students, can the single voice that stifles the progress of evil. I encourage anyone to see for themselves where the world is going. The future is bleak if we don’t speak up now. I know I’ve been convicted to act and I pray others will be as well.

Alex Mooney

Until attending the United Nations Fellowship with Christian Council International (CCI) this week, I believed the common conservative misconception that the UN is essentially irrelevant in international and domestic politics. Now, I have a newly kindled passion for defending life, family, and freedom at the UN.

Observing how the UN operates was an essential part of my experience. The UN’s complex structure and operation made it vexing at first, but I caught on through CCI’s training and getting involved. I jumped right into side events early the first day, starting with an event on the effects of conflict on women and girls. Representatives from Ukraine, Qatar, Turkey, Palestine, and others spoke. Time restraints limited discussion to quick talking points. It seemed to be less “getting things done” and more perception seeking. This proved true for all side events I attended. I also attended a General Assembly meeting where there seemed to be somewhat more substantive discussion. The ideologies of many nations in these meetings were against CCI’s, which did not surprise me. I was surprised at how often we found common ground with certain countries’ stances. Finding this common ground is critical since the most powerful nations push a progressive agenda. The only way to fight for life, family, and freedom is having a united front against that agenda. This week I learned how to accomplish that within the complex UN structure.

This experience showed me the necessity of engaging the UN’s progressive agenda. At events hosted by The Center for Family and Human Rights, I learned how the UN influences the world. It influences aid programs, sways the perception of nations, and establishes customary law. I especially learned about how the UN is pushing sexual agendas through its aid programs and various guidance documents. The way this is mostly done is through weaponizing language. Ambiguous and shifting terms like “gender mainstreaming,” “reproductive health,” and “comprehensive sexuality education” are used so countries sign onto resolutions without catching hidden agendas. Many countries would reject the sexual agenda if they knew how it was being pushed. This week, I observed how CCI and like-minded organizations inform delegates on these issues. I saw UN guidance manuals for teachers that included very explicit content for young children. I read proposed agreements that predicated investment on compliance with progressive agendas. The UN certainly does have large influence in the world, especially in poorer nations. Although the UN can be a force for good, its current social agendas must be combatted.

In the midst of all the intense meetings, attending this commission demonstrated that connections matter. Networking is a huge part of working at the UN. Meeting people on the CCI fellowship and in other organizations was the best part of my experience. I met a surprising amount of warriors for conservative principles, but many more are needed at the UN. This inspires me seriously consider a career involved with the UN. I am very grateful to CCI for making this opportunity possible.

Yaozhu (Charlie) Cheng

Like always, I consider the UN as a great organization in the sense that it provides a platform for communication and for cultural exchange. It is also a great place for developed nations to help the developing nations in many ways. It is fundamentally an organization founded for good purposes. However, one has to acknowledge the danger of the liberal ideas that the western nations are trying to force upon the third-world countries. Whatever their intentions may be, what they're promoting is clearly not in accordance with the conservative values.

Understandably, the conservatives never truly liked the idea of a United Nation, so they never bothered putting any effort into it. To them, this organization has no real purpose and should be abolished for good. However, it is clear that the UN is going to stay for a while, and the conservatives have to realize how effective perception is in its ability to shape people's worldviews. Adolf Hitler's minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, once said, “It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle. They are mere words, and words can be molded until they clothe ideas and disguise.” When the UN exerts its influence through repetitively telling the third world countries about the liberal values, it is only a matter of time when it is commonly agreed that those values are simply true. Perception is reality.

The UN is fundamentally a good organization founded to promote human rights. As conservatives, we should be active in such organizations to promote to the world what we consider as true rights for people.