Inga Rhonda King receives 2019 Spirit of the UN award
by Tricia Reddock
in New York
Transitioning from her successful tenure as President of United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council (EcoSoc), into leading the St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) delegation to the powerful UN Security Council seat, Inga Rhonda King was last week presented with the prestigious 2019 Spirit of the UN award.
King, this country’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, received the award on October 23.
Each year, there are four recipients of the award — a UN Permanent Representative Ambassador, a UN Staff member, a UN NGO Representative and a Youth Representative — all who embody the promise of the United Nations to create a more peaceful, just and sustainable world.
Ambassador King is the very first CARICOM Permanent Representative to receive this honour. She is one of two CARICOM nationals who received the award last week, the other being Elliott Harris of Trinidad and Tobago – United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and Chief Economist.
The award also supports the recognition and acceptance that spirituality and adherence to universal values are key factors in providing solutions to global concerns through their work and activities, both inside and outside of the UN.
According to Ken Kitatani, Chairperson of the Committee of Spiritual Values and Global Concerns at the UN: “We award this honour to those who uphold and embody the founding principles of the UN body, which are inherently spiritual; Ambassador King has displayed a sincere concern for other people – world people actually, with her generosity and personal warmth.
“She is giving and kind. She embraces and supports these principles and carries them through into both her professional and personal relationships.”
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves expressed his pride in this latest honour bestowed on King.
“Rhonda has fulfilled her role at the UN in an extraordinary way. She is a consummate professional, a true daughter of the Caribbean soil who is highly regarded by her colleagues at the UN for excellent work, despite being very humble. It’s refreshing to see her sincerely practice these progressive values.”
In her acceptance speech, King echoed her personal alignment with those principles.
“A spirit does course through my soul, everywhere I go I recognize that spirit. No matter the race, no matter the colour, no matter the creed, I recognize that spirit. No matter the customs, no matter the language, I recognize that spirit. Atheist or agnostic, deist or theist, I recognize that spirit. In the pedant, and in the rustic, in the rich, and in the poor, I recognize that spirit. In the East and in the West, I recognize that spirit.
We, the peoples of the United Nations, are a part of a Transcendent Whole. And to deny that spirit is to be miniscule. We cannot build a world of peace outside ourselves if we are not able to create peace within ourselves — it is our own inner peace that leads to world peace. We have been spending a lot of time trying to fix the outside and less and less time fixing inside ourselves.”
The NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns – NY (CSVGC-NY) created the Annual Week of Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns in 2007 and presents the award during the United Nations anniversary weekto recognize individuals whose work is an expression of the core principles, spirit and vision on which the United Nations was founded.
This year’s theme is “Spirit of the UN: The Call for a Life of Human Dignity – Reframing the Discussion on the SDGs and Agenda 2030”.