When Mark Anthony arrived in the United States from Guyana with his parents and two siblings in 1977, he never thought in his wildest dreams, that he would spend 42 years at the United Nations, a prestigious world body.
The then 18-year-old, who had completed his high school education at St. Stanislaus College in Guyana, got his first job at a New York security firm his father had managed, however, at the encouragement of a friend who had worked at the UN back then, Anthony decided to apply to the international non-for-profit organization.
He went on to ace the employment examination required to work at the UN, and later became a staff member in June 1977.
Anthony, one of eight children, says persons should enjoy life, don’t rush it, because the ending is nice, a mantra that he no doubt learned from his deceased father, a former Guyana police officer. His mother who was a hairstylist and took care of the family in Georgetown, enjoys being with her children here in the US.
Fondly called, “Mr. UN,” Anthony, despite retiring earlier this year, still makes regular visits to the UN Headquarters in New York City, to participate in the myriad of activities he once headed, while working as assistant supervisor in mail operations with notable peacekeeping mission assignments to Western Sahara and Angola.
It is unbelievable to fathom, how Anthony is known in every facet of the vast complex. His non-stop energy, enthusiasm, and dynamic personality, has kept him involved in many activities at the UN. He is one of the most recognized faces on the compound.
He is still a member of the UN Staff Recreation Council Clubs and the UN Singers. He was the president of the Athletics Club, member of the Spartan, as well as the Caribbean, Peruvian and Philippine Cultural Clubs, where he helped plan and execute fundraising activities.
And because he had exhibited qualities befitting the goals of the United Nations developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, Anthony was a finalist in the 2016 UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon Award for “Collegiality.”
This honor, he told Caribbean Life, was one of the highlights of his career at the UN. “The nomination was a surprise, and being named one of the nominees out of thousands of people worldwide, and a finalist also, made the experience more phenomenal,” he said.
“Life is about changes. We should be like chameleons, and do the best we can,” said Anthony who has travelled to many countries around the world on missions. He still attends workout sessions, have lunch with friends, but after all of these activities, he no longer has to rush to work, he quipped.
The UN newsletter described Anthony as a popular UN personality who loved organizing events, including UN Staff Day activities, as M.C. and producer for the talent shows. He attended one of the many UN Inter-Agency Games where he had represented the UNHQ.”
The publication says Mark has toured Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and South America, with the UN Singers. Mark’s advice: “Grab any opportunity offered at the UN, no matter what the obstacles are.”
“The best part about working at the UN is meeting the international staff and learning their various cultures.” Mark has certainly adapted the UN’s multiculturalism in the national costumes he wears as a UN Singer, which have been from Africa, Guyana, the Philippines, Romania and the US, said the newsletter.
Anthony, who holds another record as one of the longest serving staff members at the United Nations, is a fierce advocate for the less fortunate, and is always volunteering, raising money for charities, and helping others. He recently helped to support an intern with muscular dystrophy, who needs specialized daily exercises.
He also continues to drive to locations in the boroughs to collect food items for the victims of Hurricane Dorian.
The UN Newsletter that featured the phenomenal humanitarian says even though Mark retired in April, “Mr. UN” is still as active as ever. He’s at the UN — almost daily — leading training sessions with the Athletics Club or singing with the UN Singers.
“We congratulate Mark on his retirement and thank him for helping to make the United Nations a warmer workplace,” said the Newsletter.
The Guyanese community would also like to congratulate Mark Anthony on his outstanding contribution to the United Nations, and the diaspora, where he continues to give much of his time and resources to help the community thrive.