Catching Up with Prof. John Katsos
John E. Katsos, Associate Professor of Business Law and Ethics at the School of Business Administration at the American University of Sharjah, provides a well-informed glimpse into the UN's workings related to maintaining peace. Katsos researches human rights and business in conflict zones, focusing on developing a peace-positive approach in conflict zones. He emphasized on the UN's role as a platform for discussion among countries in promoting peace when speaking to the AUSMUN Media team. Having been formed after two world wars, the UN has been highly successful in reducing direct conflict between countries, but the problem now lies in civil wars, which are more challenging to tackle, he noted. A large number of people that work with the UN with the common goal of spreading peace and aiding countries and communities that require assistance, has changed Katsos' outlook on peace as a concrete goal rather than a "high in the sky" concept. Katsos stressed the interrelation between environmental issues and conflict. He urged that doing good to the environment would promote a peaceful world and provide citizens with a tranquil life. The benefits of protecting the environment through small individual actions may not be immediate or obvious, but they do make a difference in the long run, he expressed. Katsos actively works to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals 16. He stressed the role of strong institutions like stable central governments and the rule of law to combat corruption as the pillars of SDG 16. Katsos sits on the UN Global Compact, the business outreach arm of the UN World's largest corporate sustainability initiative.
Along with other educational institutions, the AUS School of Business Administration is also a signatory to this initiative. He describes the global compact as a space that allows for building local networks and engaging with like-minded people. The UN interacts with nations and not with every individual. "The truth is that as individuals, it is as advocates that we have the biggest impact," he articulated. Katsos advised individuals who wish to work towards peace at the local level to be environmentally responsible and comply with the SDGs that apply to every country. Katsos had a simple, clear message to students who wish to pursue similar paths in the future. "My advice would be that you can't save the world in a suit. So, if you want to do work like this, you have to get your hands dirty". He highlighted that hard work is vital in such a career, and so is ground experience. While putting oneself in a dangerous situation is not advocated, it is necessary to gain skills, speak to experienced people, and visit conflict-ridden places to work on and achieve a proper solution that assures peace.