By MARK LINDSLEY
(TEANECK) – FDU’s Office of Global Learning hosted Sheila Carey, permanent representative of the commonwealth of Bahamas to the United Nations, on April 11 as part of the United Nations Pathways Ambassador Forum.
“Island Nations in Focus” was run in a Q&A format, with Vice Provost for Academic and International Affairs Dr. Jason Scorza asking Ambassador Carey questions.
Scorza said he was honored to share the stage with Carey.
“We are very thrilled to have Ambassador Carey with us this evening, here on the Metropolitan campus,” Scorza said. “She is a career diplomat with 40 years of experience in the business. She is exactly the sort of person we want our students to meet and take inspiration from.”
Toward the end of August 2017, Carey became
the Bahamian ambassador. “As a career foreign service officer, our dream job is to be appointed ambassador in New York,” Carey said. “First of all, you don’t say no to your prime minister, and second of all, especially when they offer you something that everyone who is in your position would kill to have.”
Since then she has been working diligently to ensure that her country has a sustainable future.
“We are trying to deal with things like ending poverty, ensuring that everyone has access to good healthcare, to clean water, to sanitation,” Carey said. “All of those issues we are looking at; and how we can improve the systems that we have in the Bahamas to ensure that every citizen of the Bahamas, regardless of where they are has the same access to the systems that people in the capital or on Grand Bahama would have.”
One topic that Carey is concerned about is the effect of climate change on the islands.
“The highest point in the Bahamas is 200 feet above sea level, and that is only one island in the Bahamas that has this mountain that’s 200 feet high,” Carey said. “The rest of us are within five feet or less height from the sea. If there is a five-foot rise in the sea levels, 80 percent of the Bahamas will disappear.”
Another topic that is close to her heart is the relationship between the Bahamas and America.
“We really feel as if Americans are our family and our friends,” Carey said. “There are very close ties between the two countries. It would take a lot, I think, to break that bond.”
Carey advised FDU students that they should focus on finding a career doing something they love, a goal that she was able to achieve.
“When you get into your work world you will realize, as much as you love your job, sometimes it can be very frustrating,” Carey said. “But one of the things that I like about my job is the fact that it allows me to travel around the world … I have had an opportunity to see the world and to help develop the foreign policy of the Bahamas.”
After the event was over, she expressed her gratitude.
“This has really been wonderful,” Carey said. “I didn’t know what to expect, so I was feeling very hesitant, but you certainly have made me very welcome.
“I was encouraged by the interest that people have shown in the Bahamas and in the UN,” Carey said. “I truly look forward to coming back again and I am going to start talking to Bahamians about Fairleigh Dickinson, so they can come and visit and see for themselves.”