UN Stories, U.S. Voices: Patrick Sciarratta
Not often is there someone so passionate about global diplomacy that they manage to win an Emmy Award, a MacArthur Genius Grant, create several NGOs, obtain diplomatic status, and receive a special commendation from a former United States President, but Patrick Sciarratta is the exception. He proves that music has the power to transcend through language, culture, and geographical borders, that youth deserve a platform to voice their global opinion, and that one person’s will to make change can create a ripple effect to inspire those around the world.
Accolades aside, Patrick is the founder and CEO of the Vinculum Foundation which works to provide direct, educational and civic-oriented public services for a broad range of diplomatic, NGO, youth, and intercultural communities. In his free time, he surrounds himself with music, producing works such as Rhythms of One World, which has global UN Ambassadors singing about global peace. A member of the UNA Westchester Chapter in New York, Patrick also sets aside time to work on advocacy projects in his city, such as sharing his vast experiences in the UN to students.
A Queens resident, Patrick recalls watching the construction of the UN Headquarters in New York City. He grew up understanding that the UN was part of our international strength, and became interested in it because his family placed tremendous importance on the value of foreign relations. As Patrick began his own involvement with the UN, he reached out to a fellow alumnus from university, who just so happened to be the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan.
“When I spoke with Kofi Annan for the first time, it was clear that there was no real youth presence. I found this astounding; they had no real clear view of its future. I then created a very successful Youth Assembly at the United Nations, where I worked with youth and music to form intercultural relations, encouraging students to connect with people from around the world.”
In 2002 Patrick introduced the first ever Youth Envoy to the Secretary-General, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi who now serves as the youngest ever Secretary-General of the World Organization of the Scouts Movement.
As for how we can improve as advocates for such a noble cause? “Bring in the arts, and focus on diversity,” Patrick said. “It takes a village to educate a child, it takes a village to love the UN. Without UNA-USA, without the UN, we would be much poorer and any dreams we had to reach young people around the world would suffer.”
Patrick’s tremendous dedication to the inclusion of young people in the UN is admirable, engaging students from around the world and providing them with unparalleled access to the world’s largest intergovernmental organization is no easy feat. It is efforts like this that we must continue to work on during this momentous 75th anniversary. Increasing opportunities to young people is always a good investment, and the insight they provide is invaluable. “The United Nations needs all of us. This even means the friends of the UN,” Patrick said. “We are one small blue dot in a dark world. Our best course of action is embracing everyone.”
In a series called “UN Stories, U.S. Voices,” we will be finding opportunities throughout the year to highlight some of the amazing histories and connections UNA-USA members have to the UN to celebrate its 75th anniversary.