Internship Blog Series: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Internship Blog Series: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

My name is Chiazam Onyenso, and in my final semester within the Master of Arts program in International Relations and Diplomacy, multiple experiences have driven my current desire to continue my academic pursuits as they pertain to international affairs. My interest in collaborative international agencies reflects the internship I’ve committed myself to at the United Nations Population Fund.

My first-year M.A. studies mainly observed the nature of conflict, theories on the correspondence of the international community, resolutions and the management of international institutions that all catalyzed my eagerness to work for the United Nations.  As a humanitarian information management intern for its Humanitarian and Fragile Contexts Branch (HFCB), working with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) provided me with relevant knowledge on the effects of crises and the various avenues utilized by UN agencies to provide relief to affected populations and to address critical international issues. I developed exceptional skills in internal correspondence, analyzing and visualizing data, and reporting on fast-paced crisis situations in real-time. My assignments required background knowledge on humanitarian crises along with nurturing a strong understanding of UNFPA’s gender-based violence and health services for youth and women in conflict.

My experience as a UNFPA intern made me increasingly interested in staying with agency, in order to continue learning more on how it functions to fulfill its mandate and begin my career. Since last July, I have assisted HFCB in creating fact sheets, developing situation reports and analyzing information that will gradually populate UNFPA’s newly launched data portal, and the upcoming Humanitarian Action Overview for 2018. At the UNFPA, my work has been greatly complemented by the skills and knowledge I’ve procured through my master studies. Specializing in International Organizations, Global Negotiation and Conflict Management, while also earning a certificate in Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Sustainability has contributed to my understanding of UNFPA’s role and overall humanitarian response.  Most of all, I’ve recognized the most crucial capacities of international assistance and aid rely on sound international law.

I hope to broaden my experience in international relations in line with international law. Adequate response to affected populations and vulnerable groups across the globe depends on human rights policy and effective rule of law; essentials that have been made incredibly clear to me at UNFPA.

Internship Blog Series: Mission of the Dominican Republic to the UN, Geneva

Internship Blog Series: Mission of the Dominican Republic to the UN, Geneva

My name is Isabel Deluna, and I am a Diplomacy student at Seton Hall. Switzerland was wonderful: being surrounded by multilateral organizations and diplomats from all over the world made my internship at the Dominican Republic Mission to the UN very interesting.  Over the summer, a new Ambassador to the Dominican UN was chosen, and I spent much of my time preparing for his arrival by renewing and updating systems and archives.

At the mission, my primary responsibility was to prepare two types of reports for the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the Dominican Republic following UN meetings. We reported verbal notes for the United Nations to notify of activities or requests, as well as “oficio” reports, which were special reports sent to the Dominican Republic to inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of mission developments and changes in events or circumstances. I prepared each report with the information provided and entered them into the record system. Everything at the mission must be put on their record, and the reports were vital to fulfilment of the mission. In addition, I frequently assisted during United Nations sessions and meetings with Dominican Republic participants, helping active participants and observers alike.

I believe the internship helped me to build my professional network. I met a great many Ambassadors and diplomats from multiple missions in Geneva who shared their experiences with me and made recommendations on strategies for my future career. I believe it is important to know the missions’ systems as well as how they manage their representation at the United Nations.

I attended sessions that related to a variety of important topics, including migration, human rights, and indigenous groups. The sessions had a great impact on me, because I was able to see the way diplomats interact with each other and express concern and defend certain topics for the benefit of their respective countries. I feel I gained an understanding of their knowledge and strategies, and thus I learned how to think strategically and manage my expression of my opinions. I believe I can apply much of what I learned in future classes and discussions.

Throughout my internship, I gained skills that will help me ascertain my position on topics of importance as well as maintain and defend it, which amplifies my ability to analyse problems and situations on diverse topics. I am very grateful I was given the opportunity to improve my skills in a direct, diplomatic setting, and I would especially recommend the internship to those who are interested in the UN!

Internship Blog Series: United States Mission to the United Nations

Internship Blog Series: United States Mission to the United Nations


I interned for the U.S. State Department, Press and Public Diplomacy Office, at the U.S. Mission to the UN. This experience was a great one that not only taught me about work at the Department of State and the UN but also gave me my first insight into communications work, something I now consider a post-grad option that I never considered before.

Press interns at the US Mission have two main responsibilities including news monitoring and transcriptions. The Press Office is responsible for putting out verbatim transcriptions of U.S. ambassadors’ remarks at the UN and in other venues where they are operating in an official capacity. These remarks are released to the public and are government records,  hence there is  a high expectation of accuracy. Many reporters will ask the Press Office for transcripts of ambassadors’ remarks to include quotes in their articles. These reporters are often on deadline which increases the need for these transcripts to be done as quickly as possible. While our supervisors always checked our work before any transcripts were released, this task taught me a lot about how to work quickly under pressure while still maintaining a standard of excellence.

I also attended “brown bag lunches” that the Human Resources Department  set up for the interns. We were able to have an hour long discussion with executives from different sections within the mission. This was an opportunity to learn from people doing work in all of the areas the U.S. Mission operates. We heard from many Foreign Service officers in the political and economic sections and what their responsibilities were in those areas. It was interesting to see how their work differed from the work of the Public Diplomacy officers that we worked with in press. My favorite part of these lunches was speaking with the economic officers as I am majoring in Economics as well as Diplomacy. One statement that stuck with me months later was from a discussion with an experienced economics officer who saw what she did as a form of ‘journalism’ for the government. These officers’ duties involve gathering information on the ground in whichever country they are stationed in and writing cables or “articles” that are then sent back to Washington. As someone who has always loved to write and even considered journalism as a career path, this was an eye opening conversation that showed me how I could combine all of my  passions;  economics, diplomacy, and writing; in a job with the U.S.  State Department or another area of the federal government.

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