Dr. Vincent Degennaro Jr. '02 | Mar. 5, 2014 | Notre Dame Magazine
The last time I sat at the United Nations headquarters was for a conference on HIV/AIDS seven years ago. In January, I returned for a conference on the same topic, this time focused on how sports can reinforce the messages of HIV prevention. The temperature was in the 20s, but the sun shined brightly, reflecting against the mirrored surfaces of the iconic midtown building. The meeting launched a four-day bonanza of events that offered the opportunity to build relationships, and raise funds and awareness for our work in Haiti.
The U.N. conference room — obviously decorated in the 1970s, complete with wood paneling and lime-green carpeting and seat cushions — emanated its history as the home of international politics. We sat down to watch a screening of a documentary about the earthquake in Haiti. The graphic images of people trapped between slabs of concrete and piles of corpses evoked strong memories from my time in Haiti immediately after the earthquake; several Haitian friends of mine wept throughout, haunted by memories and loss.