Sunday, May 2, 2010

Working with Antonio Maria Costa, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office of Drugs & Crime

Some of the most amazing moments of this project for me have been the ones that have come out of the blue. If I were pressed to pick one shining highlight of a day I would have to pick the day that we were able to work with the head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: Antonio Maria Costa. Even as I type these words, there is a part of me that still cannot believe that he gave us the opportunity.

This story cannot be told without a huge and proper thank you to my friend Rhitu Siddarth. She has been a wonderful supporter of the project from the beginning, and when she heard that we wanted to dedicate an episode of What You Can Do to combating the devastating issue of human trafficking, she immediately put a plan into action that ended with the three of us, and a camera, at the United Nations with fifteen minutes to work with one of the most important and influential men working to combat this human crisis.

To say that we were nervous, would be like saying that the sun is hot. We were in our first few weeks of creating this project and all of a sudden we were presented with an opportunity that people spend years trying to gain. We didn’t know what to expect. So we tried to come prepared for everything. Would it be OK to ask him to host the episode? Would he be OK with the stopwatch?

As it turned out- all of our fears were for naught. Not only was he game, he was encouraging, supportive, amazing and very kind.

To put into words what working with Mr. Costa meant to me and to my faith in this idea that I had created is almost impossible. Whenever any one creates anything there is always that moment of- well I love this- but will anyone else love this? Does this idea have legs? Could this really work? And in the midst of all of this insecurity and doubt ,I was blessed to work with one of the world’s foremost experts who gave us -for lack of a more graceful phrase-his “Atta Boy”!

It is a very powerful experience for me to see Mr. Costa host a video in the same series of hosts who include students and firemen and artists and even puppets. It gives me the feeling that if you are a person who wants to help- you are, whether you realize it or not , connected to a large community of people from all different backgrounds and experiences who are with you .
And that in turn makes me feel that so much is possible. That there are answers and solutions and ways out of this mess we are in.

As we begin our week on Human Trafficking, I would again like to extend my thanks to Mr. Costa, Rhitu Siddharth, Shervin Maljessi and Simone Monabesian.

For more information about The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime and their efforts to fight Human Trafficking, please visit - For more information, please visit - UN.Gift.

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