Hope in an Age of Peril

Dr. Robert Petrausch spoke about the importance of the

United Nations in a presentation at Pawling Library on April 16.

Dr. Robert J. Petrausch was the guest speaker at the Pawling Library on Tuesday, April 16, for his presentation, The United Nations: Communicating Hope in an Age of Peril. At this program, Dr. Petrausch delved back into the inception of the United Nations and addressed many issues facing the United Nations today, including what steps are being taken to improve its public image.

Audience members asked questions throughout the talk, and a variety of intriguing subjects were touched upon. The concept of fake news was brought up. “Fake news is not new,” said Dr. Petrausch. He informed guests that English-speaking female broadcasters dubbed “Tokyo Rose,” famously spread fake news, or propaganda, to Allied troops on Radio Tokyo during World War II, and even our own intelligence services circulated fake news during the war in pamphlets that were spread throughout other countries.

On the subject of reliable communication, a member of the audience who served as a translator at the United Nations for 24 years told attendants that it is an international competition to become a translator at the UN and that the training is very hard. “One thing is interpretation and another is translating,” she remarked.

“The United Nations has a reputation for not being as affirmative as before,” said one person nearing the end of the program. Dr. Petrausch responded by saying that the United Nations periodically goes through periods of reorganization.

Dr. Petrausch presented a great deal of information in a short time. This was the second presentation made available to the library by the United Nations Association of Connecticut, where Petrausch serves on the board of directors. In addition, he is an expert in communications and head of the public relations concentration and former Chair of the Department of Mass Communication at Iona College in New Rochelle. He has served as a Captain in the United States Air Force and is a member of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.