Profiles 7: Juan
Carlos BRANDT & Richard JORDAN
Light Millennium Television Series @QPTV
Cablecasting Schedule at Queens Public TV:
Sunday, August 19, 2007, Channel 56,
(2) Wednesday, August 22, 2007, Channel
56, 11:30 A.M. (aired.)
(3) Sunday, August 22, 2007, Channel
57, 7:00P.M. (aired.)
UN-DPI Conference on Climate Change and
How Viewers Can Make a Difference"
In the context of the UN/DPI-NGO 60th
Annual Conference, September 5-7, 2007
at the United Nations HQ, New York
to rigth: Dr. Judy Kuriansky, Bircan Ünver,
Juan Carlos Brandt and
Richard Jordan at QPTV Studio on May 29,
Interview conducted by: Dr. Judy KURIANSKY*
LMTV/UNNGO Profiles Series Produced by:
Interview Transcribed by: Annelle
SHELINE for the Light Millennium**
"The most important thing
that you should practice is to think in
terms of adding, plus, always plus, no
minus, but plus." -Juan Carlos
Profiles Series was launched by
Bircan Ünver as the producer/director
of the program, and with Dr. Judy
Kuriansky, as the host of the
program, in August 2006 in conjunction
with the UN/DPI-NGO 59th
Annual Conference. In 2006, LMTV
produced and aired five half-hour
programs which profiled key leaders
involved with the conference.
The subjects of these UN-NGO Profiles
included Michaela WALSH, chair
of the 2006 conference; and representatives
of various NGOs: Fannie M. MUNLIN,
Joan A. LEVY, Elisabeth K. SHUMAN
and Leslie WRIGHT.
focused on the work of
the NGO UNIFEM, discussed by Leslie
These programs were produced
at Queens Public TV (www.qptv.org),
and the transcripts were published
on the Lightmillennium.org web
where they can still be accessed.
The Light Millennium organization
has continued its participation
on the planning committee of the
UN/DPI-NGO annual conferences,
and has been actively involved
in the Annual 60th
Conference since January 2007>
Light Millennennium, org has jointly
decided to continue producing
the UN-NGO Profiles this year,
in cooperation with the Media
Subcommittee of the Annual 60th
Conference. We are very proud
to present the first program of
the 2007 series:
the LMTV/UNNGO Profile
#7: Juan Carlos BRANDT & Richard
JORDAN both as LMTV Series
To access the LMTV/UNNGO
Profiles from 2006, see: http://lightmillennium.org/lmtv/list_04.html).
"The idea at the United Nations always
is to move the agenda forward, be creative,
be positive, make an impact in the lives
of people in their daily work." -Richard
Judy KURIANSKY (Dr. Judy): Welcome to the Light Millennium
TV series of UN NGO profiles.
Today I have with me two extremely
distinguished men who know a great deal
about the United Nations, with over a
quarter of a century of working there.
Juan Carlos Brandt is chief of the section
of nongovernmental organizations in the
Department of Public Information. And
Richard Jordan is chairman of the upcoming
UN/DPI-NGO Annual 60th Conference that
will be held September 5th
to 7th, 2007 at the United Nations headquarters
in New York. Richard is also a representative of one
of the NGOs to the UN.
Welcome, and nice to have you both
with us. We sit here in front of a poster
that is quite beautiful and related to
the conference you both care about. Tell
us about it.
BRANDT: The poster is the official
visual identity for the upcoming DPI/NGO
conference. It was only last week presented to the
NGO community at the United Nations to
great acclaim by the NGOs. It was created
by an in-house team at the United Nations
and is meant to represent both the optimistic
side and the negative side of the topic
that we have chosen for our conference
this year which, as the poster clearly
indicates, is Climate Change.
Dr. Judy: As
the poster shows, the word "Climate"
is on top, and down below is the word
"Change" written upside-down.
There are also images in the letters.
The poster also says, "Climate Change:
How It Impacts Us All." Richard,
what is the symbolism of the image, how
does climate change impact us all, and
how was it chosen to be the subject this
R. Jordan: Well, not only is the word "Change" upside-down but
it is also backwards.
And the images show all the negative
consequences of the actions of human beings
accumulated over a long period of time,
whether they are intense weather-related
events or natural disasters, such as Lake
Baikal drying up and now becoming almost
nothing, as well as incredible forest
fires, tornadoes, and intense hurricanes.
All of this we have seen just in the last
few years. These very intense events impact not only
every single person but also other species,
such as the monarch butterflies who stop
on Long Island at some point in their
migration. So not only are humans sometimes
forced to migrate due to environmental
consequences, but other species.
This is the "Us All"
in the conference title; the "Us"
is every living being, the human-earth
community. The theme was chosen by a large
number of representatives of non-governmental
organizations -- who are associated by
the Department of Public Information --
in the fall of last year. Now we are fleshing
out the conference in terms of speakers,
midday workshops, and "plenaries",
and for three days in September we will
be discussing and educating ourselves
on what climate change really means for
We all know -- here in Queens and elsewhere
-- that we have had less snow over the
We used to be up to our waists
in snow, and now during some seasons some
people don't even wear boots. And we also
know about the importance of the environment
because former Vice President Al Gore
has even won an Academy Award for his
film about the subject. So, Juan Carlos,
how will the conference on climate change
that the NGOs are going to do impact people
watching the program -- and reading this interview -- right
now? How will it matter to them?
JC Brandt : I think that conferences of this kind are
meant to be a call to action, a call to
awareness. A call for all of us, not only
those nongovernmental organization representatives
that attend, but everyone who's watching
the TV program and reading this interview,
and everyone who plays a role in this
particular event, to be a bit more sensitized
to the tremendous impact of this climate
warming, and climate change phenomenon
that is taking place all over the world.
There's not one single part of this earth
and every continent that is not affected
by the situation. People, as a result
of that, have in large quantities started
to think about "What is it that I
can do? How can I make a contribution?"
because obviously no one wants to see
this happening without at least trying
to do something about it. So, one of the
reasons that this, I suspect, was chosen
as the theme for this year's conference
is precisely "What can we do to make
sure that we put a stop to this, or that
we at least try in our daily lives, in
our every-day routine? How can we make
sure that our children and our children's
children one day will be able to see things
in the flesh?" I took my son recently
to the Bronx Zoo for him to experience
the animals in that sort of setting, but
I want to be able to take him some day
to a place where animals run wild. Like
Richard said, I want to be able to show
him butterflies; I want to be able to
show him a glacier. Those are things that
if we don't do something, we aren't going
to be able to show to our children with
the exception of photographs or video.
Dr. Judy: He might not be able to see the polar bears, for
example, because there’s so much ice
that is melting. So that would be one particular
problem in the Bronx Zoo or elsewhere. There
was an article in the New York Times recently
that said if you just change your light
bulb you will be saving a tremendous amount
of energy. So, what else can people do specifically?
What is it that you want them to get up
and do, because I know that you're both
concerned about action.
Jordan: The challenge that I'm going to state at the end of the conference
is this: It's nine A.M. on Monday morning—it
really should be nine A.M. on Saturday morning
because we don't have days to waste—ask yourself,: "What
am I going to do?" and "What is
the group assembled going to do and take
back to their communities?" Whether
this means getting their local legislature
to install clean-air buses or clean-air
taxi cabs. This requires action of various
For example, New York City has recently
hosted thirty mayors -- Mayor Bloomberg
has gotten a summit of mayors. The local
authorities are really the actors on the
ground who can help -- besides the individuals
-- take action in the community that is
necessary on large scales. I have a term
that I've invented" I think I've invented
it's called "mega-lumps". There
are mega-lump actions, large-scale actions
that only governments and local authorities
So what do you want us - the viewers and
the readers -- to do? Should we call our
R. Jordan: Well, whatever the participants
choose to do, we want them to six months
later get back to us by email. Tell us what
action they determined to take. When we
have all these experts coming to the conference,
what will people learn about climate change
that they didn't know, what can they do?
Whether it means becoming a member of a
large nongovernmental organization, or going
to see the pandas and where their habitat
is. Understanding the relationships of science
and everyday life is important. It's up
to the individual. Then, tell us at the
UN what they've done.
Dr. Judy: I was just going to say
that if people don’t want to act on
their own, they can join an NGO. A lot of
people say "NGO? What does that mean?"
It's a nongovernmental organization. We
heard you both use that word. Juan Carlos,
what is that, so the viewer and reader would
know, "What does that mean, where would
I find one, and how would I pick one?"
JC Brandt: The civil society -- which refers to people
at large in the community -- is organized
in different ways. One of the ways in
which you can become active is by joining
an organization that has no ties with
government officials and no ties with
any other group, whose sole motivation
is to do something that will represent
positive outcomes for society. Whether
you want better schools and better education;
whether you want cleaner air for your
children; whether you want to support
human rights causes; whether you want
to make sure that laws are fair and
equal to all. There are hundreds upon
hundreds of grass-root level organizations
which are considered to be NGOs, and
it's nothing more significant or simple
than getting together with other like-minded
people for the same purpose, to work
towards the good of the large majority
in that particular community—that
is an NGO. And NGOs, as we have seen
for years, have done wonders for change
in society, for change in the world,
from little things to big, big things.
If that is what you want, and if that
is where your energy should lie, do
it. Participate. Join others. Speak
up. Make sure that you speak with one
voice. The more the better, because
of course the results of this particular
action will be felt by the vast majority
who have something at stake at any given
Judy: Richard, your NGO is the "International
Counsel for Caring Communities":
a perfect example for what Juan Carlos
was talking about. You help the elderly
and bring informational technology together
with helping the elderly, and assist young
people to help the older people using
technology. That might be a good example for how people can get involved..
R. Jordan : Not only that, but mentoring is also a very important
aspect of the work that we do. Utilizing
the skills, the vision, the dedication,
the talent of people who might have retired
and are looking for an opportunity to
share their vast experience with younger
people who also are very interested in
understanding the world better. Two of
the best known NGOs -- I can give you
very easy examples that people in Queens
will certainly know -- are the Rotary
and Lions Clubs.
They are nonprofit organizations
andthey are worldwide. My NGO -- that's
what we call a nongovernmental organization
in UN terms -- simply found a niche. We
have two worldwide student competitions:
one on architecture to design a society
for all ages, having young architects
do this and understand how the design
of buildings needs to be sensitive to
everyone. And another on information technology:
how do young people perhaps create a way
for older people to share and preserve
their memories. One of our projects is
called "The Grandfather Storyboard":
it's simply older people in Latin America
relating their experiences and family
Photo-shop preserving your photos, it's
preserving oral history.
Dr. Judy: I
love this idea of keeping older people involved in their
community through the
ways you describe. My mom is 83 years
old, and she was just called and asked
if she would volunteer to teach the traffic
safety course because she got a perfect
score on the exam - using techniques like
studying from flas cards -- and now they
want her to teach it.. Interestingly,
traffic safety is a topic that the United
Nations has addressed and a past head
of the secretariat has talked about. This
leads me to asking you, Juan Carlos: you
have spent a quarter of your life devoted
to United Nations' issues.
Why have you chosen that as your
career? You were also a spokesperson for
the Secretary Generals, a big job. Why
does it matter to you?
BRANDT: "The charter of the United Nations, it's not 'We
the governments' it's "We the peoples".
to rigth: Juan Carlos BRANDT & Richard
Co-Chairs of the Planning Committee of
the UN/DPI-NGO 60th Annual Conference,
during the LMTV/UNNGO Profiles video-taping
at Queens Public TV on May 29, 2007.
JC Brandt: Let me put it this way, if I were to be given
this opportunity all over again, and if
I would go back in time twenty-four years
ago, I would do it all over again. Because
I simply cannot see anything that would
be more fulfilling, more rewarding, more
satisfying than working for an organization
that has as its goals what the United
Nations does. Every day I go to work and
I know that up to a point my small contribution
is going to make a little bit of a difference
and if that is the case I will feel good
at the end of the day. And that is exactly
the same feeling that most of my colleagues
throughout the world, in peace-keeping
operations, in humanitarian activities,
at the different UN offices all over the
world, feel when they are working every
day knowing that in whatever area they
are involved, they are making a difference.
That's what this is all about.
It's not the only exclusive area of action
by the United Nations; it's all of us.
Remember, the United Nations preamble
starts with the words "We the peoples."
The charter of the United Nations, is
not "We the governments," it's
"We the peoples." So, the more
we put into this, the more we participate,
the more we believe that together we can
make the difference, the more action and
the more results in the positive sense
we will get, and that's what this conference
is all about.
Dr. Judy: I know that you, Juan Carlos, have a very
global view because you were born in Venezuela,
you spent a lot of time in Australia when
you were working for the UN, and you're
now here in New York. Richard, you have
a global view, too, but you also have
your eye on civic issues locally here
in New York. And you care very much about
the people in the streets of the city.
I know that if you had a choice between
a rich person and a poor person to be
your best friend, it would be the homeless
person that you'd pick.
Why is that?
R. Jordan: Well, I have worked with the homeless for the last twenty
years through my church, St. George's,
which has the longest homeless shelter
in New York. And I have gotten to know
people and to understand that the homeless
are the most cosmopolitan of all of us
because they simply every day, have to
have a strategy for their survival. We
in New York do not yet have to have a
strategy for our survival. If a storm
surge came up the East River or the Hudson
River, we too would have to be thinking:
"How are we going to survive from
day to day?" I have learned so much
from homeless people whom I have known
in New York City and gotten to know as
friends, that I really respect them for
their resilience. In UN terms, it's called
flexibility. They really have to be flexible
because you really don't know what the
next day is going to bring. Is there going
to be a sudden storm, do you have to take
shelter, where do you take shelter, how
do you get your meals? If you don't want
to live in a shelter, where do you live?
These are very important issues and I
have learned through being a native New
Yorker and growing up here in Flushing
that any of us can be, because of climate
change, literally a refugee displaced.
So it's something that I am very passionate
and dedicated to, helping the homeless
and listening to who they are.
Dr. Judy: I'm
a fellow Flushing resident myself, who also went to Bayside High School. I noticed something I'm
sure everyone would be interested to see:
this is a page of one of the local papers,
a local Chinese newspaper, and here indeed
is the conference reported in
Chinese, with the big globe in the back. This shows
how climate change is a global issue but
also a local issue. I know Juan Carlos
you just said that you if you had your
life to do all over to do again, you would
make the same choices and you would still
work at the UN. For the suture, what's
JC Carlos: My dream is that events like this will be
so successful in calling attention to
the problems that we are trying to tackle
and solve. My dream is that people will
recognize that this is a world that does
not recognize borders anymore. And that
we have to understand that we live in
world where everything affects us all
at the same time, no matter where we are.
If there is an oil spill on the coast
of Europe, that oil spill is going to
have catastrophic consequences on the
coast of Brazil on the other side. If
we have some sort of degradation problem
in the Coral Sea in the Great Barrier
Reef near Australia, that's something
that is not just happening there, it's
happening all over the world because of
the warming that is occurring in the waters.
If an island disappears as a result of
the rising levels of the ocean, that is
something that is going to have tremendous
consequences. And that's just the environment.
If we have a disease like we've seen with
SARS, like we have seen with other diseases,
like we have seen with AIDS, that's not
just one topic that one single country
can tackle: we need the cooperation and
the joint effort of all countries, of
all peoples. And that's the type of work
that the United Nations does.
Dr. Judy: Perhaps
Richard, you could help in that dream,
because your dream when you were young
was to become the Pope.
JC Brandt: I did not know that, that's new!
Dr. Judy: So
all Richard would have
to do is to make a few divinations here
and make Juan Carlos' dream come true!
R. Jordan: Dreams change over the course of time...
Dr. Judy: You're
R. Jordan: Well, because it was not only the Pope; I
wanted to be the Archbishop of Canterbury.
I wanted to be everybody including the
Secretary General of the United Nations.
Dr. Judy: Oh,
now it's out.
JC Carlos: You're getting close.
Richard Jordan: "Your consumption
is too big."
R. Jordan: I'm getting close but not quite. I wanted to be Groucho Marx also!
I like the
idea that Juan Carlos just shared, that
every neighborhood is my neighborhood.
On my first trip to India, I was in a
small room with a very small wastebasket and I was ready to throw in a film wrapper.
As my hand was ready to throw this in—because
I'm a New York sports guy, I love to practice
basketball hoops anywhere—I said
"Gee, that's a small wastebasket.”
And all of a sudden my conscience said,
"Your consumption is too big."
Oh, that was a revelation. In a small
village, just a film wrapper can be something
that makes a major impact. So every single
action that I take affects someone somewhere
else in the world.
Dr. Judy: Richard,
you are also a cook -- one of your favorite
activities. What can you actually do when
you're cooking that will change the environment
for the better and is related to what
the conference is going to be about that
is related to climate change. Everybody
has to cook, so what specific action can
you take about that?
R. Jordan: Well when I was a kitchen assistant at the New York Restaurant
School, I felt like Julia Child because
everything that we did was thrown on floor
-- it was kind of like being Julia. But
the ingredients are so important to making
a good stew or whatever. Sometimes you
can prepare something in a matter of minutes
and sometimes it takes a day. To make
porridge, you need to keep the porridge
on the stove overnight. It's not something
that "It is not something you throw
in the microwave for two minutes and it
is done."" If you don't want
to use instant oatmeal, you really must
take care and you must prepare correctly.
So, what I'm doing in this time before
this conference is what the whole planning
committee of about eighty people is doing:
really educating themselves on the issues
of climate change. None of us are specialists
in this area. We have a topic that we
must prepare well so that others can learn
as we are learning. And then can go out
and do the practice, make the meal.
Dr. Judy: Juan
Carlos, you care so much about children
and grandchildren -as you mentioned earlier
in going to the zoo. What would you say
to parents and grandparents about telling their
children and grandchildren about climate
change, about what they should do to help
the environment? What would be your advice?
JC Carlos: Well, you have to really put to work whatever
you learn about those little steps that
are going to make a difference. You mentioned
the bulbs. Bulbs -- and the use of the
right bulbs -- are going to definitely
make a tremendous difference. The use
of cars that have the high-bred technology
whereby you can reduce the consumption
of fossil tech. Walking -- I mean try
to walk a little bit more -- it does you
good, and it's something that is amazing
how much of a difference that can make.
All kinds of water reduction are little
measures. Show your children that it is
not really necessary to take a fifteen
minute or half-hour shower if you can take a five-minute shower --
you'll be as clean as the one that took
the half-hour shower. Don't let the faucet
run for more time than is needed, and
so on and so forth. We all know about
these little things.
Dr. Judy: But
doing them is what you are saying; listen
to it right now and take the advice.
Judy: You both have been devoting
yourselves at the UN for a quarter of
a century, contributing so much to the
environment and to the peoples –
duly noted, as the UN charter says, "We
the peoples." What's your philosophy
of life, Juan Carlos? What would you say in a sentence is your philosophy of life
given what you care about and what you’ve
done in your life?
JC Carlos: I would say that the most important thing
that you have to have, or the most important
thing that you should practice, is to
think in terms of adding, plus, always
plus, no minus, but plus. I think that
you will discover that in life, like everything
else, it makes a big difference if you
can give of yourself and if you can go
out of your way to make a difference by
giving. And that is, I think, the motto
and most important element of being an
NGO, because you are giving. You are giving
of your time, you are giving of your energy,
you are giving of your effort. And that
indeed is the best thing you can do in
your life to make a difference
Judy: That's really beautiful. Richard,
what is your philosophy of life?
R, Jordan: "Move the ball forward." I said I was a New
York sports guy. It's like European football,
which we call soccer in America. Soccer,
football, is a beautiful sport because
it creates movement in empty space, and
it doesn't matter who passes the ball
to whom; what is important is the beauty
of game and the dedication and not going
backwards but moving forward. So the idea
at the United Nations always is to move
the agenda forward, be creative, be positive,
make an impact in the lives of people
in their daily work.
Dr. Judy: There is a website that people can go to,
to learn more about the DPI/NGO conference
and climate change. Tell us about where
to find it and what they would find there.
JC Brandt: The conference is going to have, like we always
do, its own website, where people can
find out about the different proceedings.
is at http://www.undpingoconference.org.
The best way for people to find
this type of information is to go online
to the United Nations' website at www.un.org. Then you can go
into the NGO section, and that will take
you in turn to all the necessary information
for getting acquainted with a topic. We
will give you in that website other options,
and if you want to learn more about what
is it that you can do, and if you want
to learn more about the different facets
of climate change, do so.
Dr. Judy: Thank
you both for your years of dedication,
your intelligence as well as your humor.
And thank you all for being with us on
this edition of the Light Millennium TV/
* * * * *
A Brief Biography of Juan Carlos BRANDT:
|Mr. Juan Carlos Brandt, a national
of Venezuela, is the Chief
of the Non Governmental Organizations
Section (NGOs) in the Department
of Public Information. In
this capacity, since April
2006, Mr. Brandt oversees
the relationship between approximate
1500 representatives of Civil
Society and the Organizations
Prior to this, Mr. Brandt
was the Director of the United
Nations Information Centre
in Australia and the South
Pacific. Based in Sydney,
Mr Brandt was appointed in
early 1998 by Kofi Annan,
Secretary-General of the UN,
and assumed his duties in
October of the same year.
UNIC Australia is also responsible
for Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru,
New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga,
Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Mr. Brandt joined the United
Nations in 1984 as Information
Officer in the United Nations
Information Centre in Washington,
D.C. In 1988, he became Associate
Spokesman in the Office of
the Spokesman for then Secretary-
General of the United Nations,
Javier Pérez de Cuéllar.
In January 1992 and for the
next five years, he served
in the same capacity under
former Secretary-General Boutros
Boutros-Ghali and, most recently,
since January 1997, under
Secretary-General Kofi Annan
as Senior Associate Spokesman
and Deputy Spokesman.
1989, Mr. Brandt was appointed
Spokesman for the President of
the Forty-Third session of the
General Assembly, Mr. Dante Caputo
Before joining the United Nations,
Mr. Brandt worked for five years
as Director of the Venezuelan
Government Tourist and Information
Centre for the United States and
Canada in New York, and as Press
Counsellor for the Permanent Mission
of Venezuela to the United Nations.
Prior to that position he worked
in his countrys communications
and advertising industry, both
in the private and public sectors.
Mr. Brandt attended the
La Salle School, in Caracas, and
the San Jose Salesian Institute
in Los Teques, also in Venezuela.
He graduated from the Catholic
University in Caracas, where he
earned a degree in Mass Communications
Born in England on 26 November
1952, Mr. Brandt is married and
has six children.
*Dr. Judy KURIANSKY
is a clinical psychologist at Columbia
University Teachers College, and a representative
to United Nations for two international
NGO:s the International Association
of Applied Psychology and the World
Council of Psychotherapy.
Profiles - Interviews from the 2006:
Profiles - Program - 2006
- For the list of LMTV Programs>
Coming soon from LMTV Series/QPTV (qptv.org):
- UN/NGO Profiles - 8: Sir Joan KIRBY & Sherrill
For more information: LMTV@lightmillennium.org
Annelle Sheline is the Youth Representative
of the Light Millennium to the Department
of Public Information of the United Nations
for Summer 2007.
The television program is produced,
directed, and edited by Bircan ÜNVER
for the Light Millennium TV Series, August
2007. Bircan is member of the Planning
and Media Committees of the UN/DPI-NGO
Annual 60th Conference.
interview might be quoted or reproduced
by given its full credits and related
hyper link's as follow> "UN
NGO Profile 7: Juan Carlos BRANDT &
e-published in the Light Millennium>
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