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Diplomacy Students Watch and Learn from Papal Address

NOTE: This guest post was written by Sajedeh Goudarzi. Sajedeh is a graduate student majoring in diplomacy and international relations at Seton Hall. She has another master’s degree in public administration focused on governance and paradiplomacy in metropolitan areas. She has also been doing research on radicalism in relation with religious belief and religious societies in the Middle East, considering the latest conflicts in the region. She is from Iran and speaks English and Persian fluently. She has been working as a journalist as well and has been cooperating with several news channels and websites in Iran.


On Friday, September 25th, as many gathered at the United Nations for Pope Francis’s speech to the General Assembly, Seton Hall students, faculty, and outside guests also gathered to watch the address. Several dozen students and professors took part in the watch party, which was spiced up by coffee and refreshments.

In his speech, Pope Francis delved into some of the most important global debates, highlighting a “right of the environment” while urging countries to welcome immigrants, and not just decrease, but rather put an end to homelessness and poverty.  He called for immediate and practical actions to address global problems. The emphasis was clear that it was time for the leaders to turn their words into acts.

Following the event, the guests heard from four Seton Hall faculty members offering their commentary on the address. Hugh Dugan, Tom and Ruth Sharkey Distinguished Visiting Scholar and State Department veteran, Fr. Brian Muzas, expert in international security, Dean Courtney Smith, Senior Associate Dean, and Professor Martin Edwards, Director of the Center for UN and Global Governance Studies.  This was an extraordinary opportunity for the students to discuss, not just the content of the speech, but also the whole event of Pope’s visit to the United Nations from several special perspectives.

The Pope’s speech was discussed in three main parts. First, Mr. Dugan offered an insider’s perspective, giving detailed information about the formalities and norms of receiving the Pope at the UN and how the ceremony was different compared to other officials. Father Muzas briefed everyone about Vatican City and the Holy See as well as describing the Vatican as a network structure rather than a top-down structure. Dr. Edwards later engaged students in a debate on their observations about what Pope had to say and whether they heard what they expected or not. He pointed out some important parts of Pope’s speech and invited students to focus more on the mentioned topics.

We were joined on campus by loca‌l media as well. Jim Murdoch from News 12 New Jersey and Pat Battle, a senior New Jersey correspondent for NBC 4 New York channel also joined the gathering to cover the event.

As Pat’s report is still to be aired, you can watch Jim’s report HERE.

A Storify with additional photos and social media coverage of the event can be viewed HERE.

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