KENILWORTH, NJ — When Kenilworth resident Michael C. Curtin decided to write about his favorite topic, the United Nations, he knew it would take some time to complete such an undertaking.
“It was a marathon, not a sprint,” said Michael Curtin in an interview with LocalSource on Friday, June 2. “Eventually, I crossed the finish line, so to speak.”
“It was finished somewhere around December 2022 and the book was published in January of 2023,” he continued. “It’s on Amazon and it’s on Barnes & Noble. I think Target is another one that sells it online. I sent it to a lot of Barnes & Nobles.”
“Challenging the Misconceptions of the United Nations” has proven to be both an effort of love by Curtin – one which he hopes will be an eye-opener both for those who follow news and the United Nations closely and those who have just a passing interest in its activities. In the meantime, he’s making every effort to get his writings out to the public.
“There’s a website I mentioned in the book, internationalpolicydigest,” he said. “If you google my name and this website, it will bring you to the site of a lot of my writings. There’s also an interview I did.”
Curtin’s journey to becoming an author began many years ago when he first moved into Union County.
“I was born in Jersey City and moved to Kenilworth, where I live today, when I was 2 years old,” he explained. “I’ve lived in Kenilworth the majority of my life. I went to David Brearley High School when it was regional.”
Following high school he attended the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University.
“The UN Association and Seton Hall’s School of Diplomacy have a tight relationship,” Curtin said. “I’ve been a member since 1991. I followed their work and the time came that I was able to attend. I even taught there in the fall. I taught their International Relations in the fall. I’ve been teaching at Brookdale Community College since 2020. I teach Introduction to Political Science and I also teach American Government.”
Curtin said he was also teaching last fall and this spring at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, fully online.
“Last semester was fall of 2022 and I was teaching United Nations and Human Security and spring of 2023 was United Nations and Genocide,” he explained. “We looked at a lot of the case studies on genocide. My real interest lies in that area as well.”
Curtin is an adjunct professor at the Seton Hall University School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Fairleigh Dickinson University’s School of International Relations and Brookdale Community College, as well as a writer and editor of International Policy Digest, former editorial chairperson/website blogger and writer of the United Nations, former deputy editor-in-chief of the Journal of Diplomacy at Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations, a former freelance writer at the Examiner.com and a former senior editor and internal lead for BurrellesLuce.
“My undergraduate degree was in political science and I always had an interest in international relations and international politics and my interest always gravitated toward the United Nations,” Curtin said. “My interest was always into one of the subfields, international relations. There are four to five subfields. That is where my interest lies. My undergraduate degree was at Upsala College in East Orange, which closed. I got my master’s degree from Seton Hall University in 2018. Between undergraduate and graduate degrees, I worked for 20 some-odd years for an information services company.”
In 2008, Curtin said there was a global recession and he became a victim of that. He said he had to decide what he wanted to do at that point. Knowing his interest was in international relations, he went back to school. He has been a member of the United Nations Association of the USA since 1991. He began writing a blog for the local chapter in 2011.
This proved to be the impetus for what would later become his novel.
“I did that for about 10 years and all of what’s contained in the book is all of my writing in that time span,” he said. “It’s a compilation of my blogs advocating for the world of the UN. When I set out to write these blogs, I knew the importance of multilateralism. Multilateralism, you can contrast that with the last administration, which believed we should go it alone. Multilateralism is working and acting through global institutions like the UN, especially with our allies. NATO is a prime example, especially now, with what we see going on in the Ukraine since 2022. We saw that particular policy of multiculturalism. Unfortunately, isolationists, they wanted to do things alone. They prioritized U.S. sovereignty instead of multilateralism. President (Joseph) Biden saw the ignorance of that.”
Curtin said he wanted to change the feeling of what people have for the United Nations and what it does. It’s controlled by all 193 member states, he explained, and it’s definitely not a perfect institution, specifically as it relates to the UN Security Council. There are five permanent members, and Russia and China often try to veto everything.
His involvement with the United Nations has influenced Curtin’s teaching as well.
“I try to impress upon students the importance of voting – what they should vote for,” he said, adding, “There are a host of global issues that I could concentrate on. I’m actually still interested in applying for a PhD in political science.”
“Getting a book published about the UN and selling it is a challenge,” Curtin said. “Most people have a negative perception of it.”
“It was a lot of years in the making,” he said. “It was an educational process for me as to how a book is put together and to make sure all the sources were attributed properly.”
Despite negative perceptions, he was still able to get his novel published by Dorrance Publishing in Pittsburgh.
“There’s always a negative perception of the UN,” said Curtin. “It’s not world government. That’s just one issue I’d like to emphasize. It does not infringe on a state’s sovereignty. It’s not a world government.”
Whatever the public impression of his work, Curtin says he’s ready to stand behind what he wrote.
Photo Courtesy of Michael C. Curtin