Review Fix Exclusive: Linda Fasulo Interview

Majoring in sociology in Rutgers College, Linda Fasulo never thought of becoming a journalist and a writer. Now she is the United Nations correspondent and the author of “An Insider’s Guide to the U.N.” which was praised by IPS U.N. Journal as “one of the best reference guides for those inside and outside the U.N. system.”
Fasulo got acquainted with the United Nations through an internship with the organization, which she did while getting her master’s degree in public administration. At this time, the international relations sphere captured Fasulo’s interest, and she decided to pursue a career at the U.N. However, instead of becoming a diplomat, Fasulo has been covering the United Nations and breaking news for nearly 20 years.
“I started at the very end of the Cold War.” Fasulo remembered. “In August 1990, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and the U.S. and Russia and other major powers on the Security Council, paralyzed by each other’s veto powers during the Cold War, decided to work together in order to reverse the invasion. They organized economic sanctions against Iraq and imposed strict weapons control regime over all countries. For several years, Saddam Hussein played a cat-and-mouse game with the U.S. and the Security Council, and kept the Council engaged in action against him. That very much helped me and lots of other diplomatic correspondents at the U.N. because it was front page news American media and media from all over the world were interested in.”
Starting as the United Nations breaking news reporter, Fasulo became more curious about diplomacy and wondered how the organization worked behind the closed doors. Having access to diplomats and U.N. officials and knowing that there were not many books at that time that explained how the U.N. functioned to a general reader, Fasulo came up with the idea of writing a comprehensive guide for people with the same kind of curiosity she had.
Being one of few books on the topic, “An Insider’s Guide…” is also very journalistic. A professional reporter, Fasulo diversified her chapters by adding quotes from diplomats and officials who worked for the United Nations.
“The U.N. can be very complex and often pretty dry topic, and I thought that getting real people who had experienced it talk about it would liven it up a bit,” commented Fasulo. “I was always looking for quotes, trying to get someone to really explain or stand behind what they were saying. Being a journalist and not working for the U.N., I could get people to speak more freely and honestly about things they found helpful, and also about some of the problems at the organization. I felt at times that they were pretty candid, which isn’t always the case.”
The result of her hard work turned out to be very useful not only for students, but also for some diplomats.
“It was very gratifying when I found out that a lot of new U.N. officials read it, trying to get some insight on what it is all about,” Fasulo said. “At first, I just wanted to reach out to students, Model U.N. conference participants and general readers who want to understand what is really going on there.”
Besides inspiring her to write her “Insider’s Guide…,” the United Nations enhanced Fasulo’s understanding of the world in general by enabling her to communicate with people from different regions and cultural backgrounds. The “polite” atmosphere of respecting each other’s cultural and personal dissimilarities that reigns at the U.N. helped Fasulo’s global discovery.
“The U.N. experience connected me to the world in a way I think I would never be connected,” revealed Fasulo. “In a sense, the U.N. is an international territory. It’s been very broadening, eye-opening and humanizing. On a daily basis, we all travel and meet people from different countries, but seldom from everywhere. This experience helped me see that people are really people, and you can have chemistry with someone no matter where they come from or what language they speak or not, which made me feel very comfortable in the world.”
With her bachelor’s degree in sociology, journalistic experience and interest in international issues, Fasulo is thinking about writing a novel based on the United Nations or diplomatic relations, but the idea is still very indefinite.
In the near future, Fasulo would like to broaden her career goals, which were concentrated until now solely on the United Nations. She is interested in the U.S. foreign policy and international relations, and she is looking for a topic that has not been studied before and could result in another book. Fasulo is not sure what angle to work on, but she realizes that covering the U.N. and writing about it is not sufficient enough for her.
“The U.N. is a great window to the world,” Fasulo said. “It is a very efficient place to look at the array of global issues – political, economic, social, cultural, humanitarian. It allows you to understand international relations because you are there and the issues are very real. But I think that the U.N. is its own world, so I would like to reach out a little more to the larger world as well.”
Whether or not her projects will be completed, Fasulo admitted that her ambitions are quite unpretentious.
“If people were to remember me, I would like to stay in their memory as a competent journalist and author who tried to pursue greater understanding of the world events and share it with people in a professional and respected manner,” said Fasulo. “I love what I do. I would like to keep doing more of it and do it well.”

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