Ballesteros-Gonzalez ’25 Joins UN Panel to Advocate for More Multilingual Conversations
Sept. 19, 2022
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — After impressing United Nations panelists with a presentation
in February about global disparities in water economics, Victoria Ballesteros-Gonzalez
'25 was elected to moderate a UN segment on Friday, Sept. 9.
Ballesteros-Gonzalez said panel members discussed the role of multilingualism in geopolitical
collaboration, tools that could be used to expand science education, green technology
to use in water economics and strategies for more social and cultural integration
that could lead to global sustainability.
As a native Spanish speaker, Ballesteros-Gonzalez also joined the closing panel titled
“Multilingualism for Stronger Multilateralism: Bringing Everyone Forward for Sustainable
Socio-Economic Development” where she served as a speaker and translator. During her last UN participation in February, Ballesteros-Gonzalez advocated for more language inclusion during panel discussions
at the international level.
“Discussions about global problems can not be held in just one language for convenience.
Language is the basis of communication and excluding some of the conversations equates
to knowledge loss,” said Ballesteros-Gonzalez. “More than a third of the new scientific
manuscripts that are published annually are in languages other than English, therefore
important innovations and scientific developments that could enrich sustainable development
programs at the international level are being lost and not heard.”
She added that many non-English speaking regions are affected the most by climate
change and that “eliminating them from the conversation leads to a lack of understanding
of the issue and most likely not finding great solutions.”
Along with gaining professional experience and learning about panel etiquette, Ballesteros-Gonzalez
said she was thrilled to hear that the International Day of Women and Girls in Science
Assembly — whom she asked to include more multilingual panels — has committed to including
Spanish sessions at future events.
“I hope (United Nations) members learned the importance of adding other languages
to the international conversations to achieve sustainable development goals,” she